Author: William Hooi
We had our first successful HacKIDemia workshops at the HUB Singapore last Saturday morning (29 June 2013). Together with their parents, twenty six kids age 4-16 had the opportunity to experience a unique workshop experience where they are allowed to participate in any activity they like for as long as they like. The workshops, involving Arduino programming, constructing simple circuits with conductive dough, building bristlebots from used toothbrushes and exploring the Raspberry Pi and the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) XO computers, adopts the ‘unconference’ play approach allows the kids to immerse themselves in activities that they enjoy. Of course, props to the ever helpful parents who have been patiently explaining and guiding their kids throughout the workshops.
The idea for the HacKIDemia workshops in Singapore was first mooted early this year but it took awhile for it to happen due to funding and venue sponsorship difficulties. It also took a lot of persuasion and pitching to many parents who were unsure if their children is ready for workshops of this nature. Finding mentors was also a challenge since the idea of facing dozens of kids is rather intimidating. Nevertheless, mentors who are parents themselves stepped forward to render all the assistance needed, voluntarily.
We have the following mentors to thank: Harish for patiently demonstrating how easy it was for kids (& parents) to set up a Raspberry Pi computer; Danishka for showing kids how to use the XO computer; Steven and Akmal for setting up the Arduino stations and showing that kids have so much fun with servo motors and blinking LEDs; Ben & Darrel for integrating origami into the bristlebots and getting kids to go wild with unique bot designs and Ann for tirelessly cooking and kneading the conductive dough.
At the conclusion of the workshops, many parents were asking if there will be another one happening some time soon. Many also expressed desire to facilitate workshops of their own. Looks like we are going to have our second workshop soon!