In a move to make learning a playful experience by enlightening young minds about new-age tech while empowering them with 21st-century skills amid the fourth Industrial Revolution, one institute in Namibia is at the forefront of this initiative.
Established in 2018, the Robot School in Namibia, located in Windhoek is currently handling over 120 children, “teaching and learning through playing”, while preparing children for the rapidly changing technology in all industries worldwide.
“We believe in a brighter future through enabling kids to understand and harness their creativity and inventiveness with coding, engineering, design, and of course, robots,” Bjorn Wiedow co-founder of Robot School Namibia told Xinhua on Sunday.
Wiedow said the school teaches 4 to 15-year-olds to start with the basics with lego robots and progress to Python and high-level programing applied to robotics when they enter their final year before graduating with a certificate at the young age of 13.
According to Wiedow, coding helps develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills in kids as well as encourages them to experiment with different possible solutions to a problem. The classes are facilitated by local teachers/coaches called #techstars who provide one-on-one coaching and mentoring in groups of a maximum of ten learners per class.
“Our coaches are creatively charged software and engineers who have the passion and experience gained by running courses at the Namibia University of Science over the past two years,” he said, adding that preparing the youth to be an actively contributing generation requires investment in new educational content such as robotics, coding, and technical troubleshooting.
According to Wiedow, it is not always easy to teach the little ones, especially toddlers, who at this age are more playful than ever. “We just need to be patient with them as they adjust over time and start learning,” he said.
During a tour of the school, most of the learners who were in high spirits were gingerly absorbed in their work, while they said they are enjoying learning and playing at the same time. “I am happy to be here as I am learning some interesting designs and computer skills to make robots,” one learner said.
“Over the years we have grown and we have 120 learners and currently host three after-school classes. We also work with the disadvantaged communities and assist some of them with giving free transport to come to the school and learn different programs,” Wiedow said.
Wiedow meanwhile concluded that despite using robot legos he and his team are busy designing their own robot kits as they look to move from the lego-based robots and also developing a series of exciting new classes ranging from robotics, website and game design, Internet of Things, 3D Printing and Computer-aided design.
Namibia last year was represented on a bigger stage by a three-member robotics team at the First Global Challenge in Geneva, Switzerland, which they described as a wonderful, exhilarating, and motivating experience.