As the world becomes increasingly digitally focused, we need to ensure that children are part of the digital conversation. The rise of Artificial Intelligence which is now being incorporated into robots is potentially both exciting and threatening to the workplace of the future.
This ever-changing backdrop means uncertainty, but possessing coding skills will protect kids against this. Thanks to SPROUT, local kids are being given a chance to learn to code. SPROUT has been undertaking such a noble task since last year and since then hundreds of kids have been equipped with coding skills.
I must say I was quite impressed with what SPROUT is doing as I interacted with current students and student-turned teachers who were telling me that they started coding without even a bit of knowledge of how coding is done. But now they are hungry to learn and explore more about coding.
Unfortunately, the ongoing load shedding was one of their biggest challenges to conduct lessons. Fortunately, with the patronage of the Australian Embassy, last week SPROUT launched their first solar-powered computer lab in Dzivarasekwa. Here are some pictures that I took during the launch:
You must be thinking that you’d need to reach deep down your pockets to get your child enrolled with SPROUT. But surprise surprise, SPROUT doesn’t ask for your money- SPROUT is a non-profit organisation so profit is not their motive. Rather, your kid just has to present herself/himself at a SPROUT office and register (provided the classes aren’t full). And don’t worry, SPROUT’s coding lessons don’t interfere with your child’s school classes. Sprout’s lessons are done after school.
As I’ve just said, SPROUT doesn’t require you to pay anything for your kid but if you want to part of SPROUT’s cause, you can donate. And I liked the idea that SPROUT is just not living on handouts from benefactors like the Australian embassy but its also generating some money for itself by building websites for other organisations. They actually created a website for an American company. Since they are a non-profit organisation, I’m pretty sure that their rates undercut the competition.
The brains behind SPROUT
Peter Kazickas is the brains behind SPROUT. His urge to found the organisation was ignited when he saw some kids coding in Lithuania back in 2016. Here’s the full story:
SPROUT was born out of the realization that technology, and specifically computer coding, can and should be learned by everyone. If you are anything like me, then for most of your life you’ve been a bit intimidated by the idea of “computer science”. You’ve been a happy consumer of technology but seldom have you been on the side of creation, or even of simply understanding the premise behind the technology you were using, whether it be the internet, a computer or smartphone application. Maybe, like me, you haven’t taken a real math or science class since you were in high school. Computer Science just wasn’t supposed to be for people like us. It was a few years back on a trip to Lithuania in 2016 when, for me personally, everything about the way I viewed computer science, and myself, changed. I was doing some work with a sport for youth development program at the time and the goal of the trip was to find partners in the youth technology space. This was the first time that I had the opportunity to feel what it was like to watch a twelve-year-old write lines of code or a team of nine-year-olds program a robot that they had built to scoot around a map and pick up select items. And honestly, it was mesmerizing. I left feeling inspired; if these kids could learn how to code, then so could I. Also, in the back of my mind was……..Read more and learn more about SPROUT by clicking this link.