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How children from Campo Limpo and Paraisópolis are learning to program

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How children from Campo Limpo and Paraisópolis are learning to program

Programmer Arthur Gandra teaches kids programming languages

Programming school, robotics and maker culture on the outskirts of Sao Paulo helps develop technical skills and sensory practices

By Tamires Rodrigues

Imagine a school that uses playful education methods to teach programming and robotics. Imagined?

It probably didn't come to your mind that something like this exists in São Paulo's ravines, right? This is the proposal of the Young Hackers, an initiative that has been bringing children closer to the outskirts of the city with techniques and practices that aim to develop digital autonomy.

The main goal of the project is to develop three main skills in its students: logical thinking, creativity and teamwork.

How did the project come about?

Young Hackers creator Arthur Gandra says he has liked technology since he was a child, but had a disappointment as a teenager. He started a computer technical course, but could not fit within the teaching methodology. He was disappointed with the practices and decided to distance himself from the area.

Gandra finished high school, went to college and eventually graduated in social communication. But the love of technology was still there, present. It was then that he found a way out of reconnecting with the digital universe and decided to teach his nephew a little of what he knew. It was challenging.

Between research to make programming classes more attractive, the young man had an idea: why not create a school that teaches technology to kids and youth on the outskirts in a fun way?

Gandra bet her chips on the idea and started researching a lot about the subject. In 2017, the developer launched the Young Hackers project, even though he is not sure where to start.

One of the turning points was the initiative's participation in the Vai Tec program, a public policy that promotes the acceleration of technology business in the outskirts of São Paulo. In addition to mentoring, the project received a contribution of $ 27,000 for investments in activities.

With the appeal, Gandra was able to better structure the proposal and put everything into practice. In the first year of the Young Hackers alone, 500 children were served in the south of São Paulo, in the Campo Limpo and Paraisópolis neighborhoods. The average spending on each must have been around $ 56, explains the programmer.

How do classes work?

At the beginning of class, students learn programming logic using unplugged computing, a teaching method that talks about computer functionality without the need for technological and electronic equipment such as a mobile phone, tablet, or notebook.

As children advance their knowledge, classes become more complex. At this point learning in educational robotics is introduced via 'micro: bit', a small electronic board that can be programmed in various programming languages, or by the Scratch program, a software that converts code structures into visual block language. to ride.

Micro: bit was developed by the BBC in the United Kingdom to teach programming to children in public schools before they are literate. This development aims to ensure that they are prepared for a life in modern society and thus try to reduce the deficit of the professional technology sector in the country.

Returning to the Young Hackers, at the end of classes, Gandra reports, the dropout rate remains at a very low level, which strengthens the relevance of the project and the interest of children.

"We say here: just as those who learn to write do not become writers, those who do history classes do not become historians … those who learn programming will not necessarily become a programmer. It's just a way for you to learn to communicate better with the world. "explains the founder of the project.

"I always knew the importance of teaching programming as a child. In my research I found a playful, different and attractive methodology for young people and children. Maybe if I had had access to this methodology I would have followed in IT," he laments, about the late discovery of fun learning in technology.

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