We had an up close and personnel chat with Dhruv Vohra and Thilan Wickramasinghe, on their mission and ideas behind the concept of Create Lab.
They are working hard with an intention to empower parents in Asia to harness the opportunities and support their children to reach their fullest potential, becoming masters of the Digital Future that awaits them. Read along to understand the importance of exposing your kid to the world of technology.
- Talk to us a bit about Create Lab and its curriculum. Who decides the course content and who are the instructors?
Create Lab’s mission is to empower Future Global Leaders. Technology is rapidly changing our world and our children will have amazing opportunities when they grow up. They will need 21st Century skills – such as critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity – to make the most of these opportunities. Unfortunately, our schooling systems are not fully geared to teach these skills. Create Lab’s unique programs encourages children to become computational thinkers – a powerful thinking process that enhances cognitive abilities and emotional attitudes towards learning. These are developed with highly respected academics from Oxford, MIT, SUTD and SMU to inspire children to imagine, create and solve problems using technology. Our instructors come from diverse backgrounds such as university lecturers, PhD students and big tech MNCs. They are all equally passionate about working with children and inspiring them to become tomorrow’s leaders.
- What should parents (and kids) expect to gain after participating in the camps you are currently running
At a minimum parents will gain an appreciation for the power of computational thinking and its ability to enhance their children’s learning and problem solving abilities at school and at home. Create Lab’s programs are structured to provide maximum opportunities for kids to explore, imagine, and “learn by doing”. The programs progressively introduce children to coding, robotics and design concepts through the use of interactive learning tools and gamified learning developed by Create Lab. At the end of our Foundation programs, children will be able to understand fundamental programming concepts and then apply them in developing and coding their own computer games and digital stories. Parents and friends become part of this learning process as the games and stories developed are shared amongst each other.
- How young is too young for a child to start exploring the world of programming?
You’re never too young (or too old) to learn programming. At Create Lab we introduce children to coding from around 5-years of age through age appropriate learning tools facilitated by our instructors who have been trained under the Create Lab Method.
- Are there any particular traits that can indicate that a child will be good with computers?
All children are good with computers if given the right opportunity and encouragement! Expressing with computers and technology should come as easy to children as expressing in a language.
- What all would a child need to learn to make a basic game or app? Are there any children focused programming tools that make it easier for kids to experience programming?
There are many tools out there to help children program, such as Tynker, Lightbot, AppInventor etc. So the software part is easy. The hard part is the thinking, planning, ideating, collaborating process that is required before building a game/app and to problem solve. For younger children, these skills tend to be better absorbed in a classroom environment, learning together with peers where they can be constantly engaged and encouraged.
- Given the ever evolving world of programming languages, platforms etc, what is the best starting point for a newbie to start learning programming?
Programming languages – just like everything else in technology – become obsolete and get replaced over time. Computational Thinking skills, on the other hand, don’t get old or obsolete. So the focus should be on looking to develop these skills over learning a particular language. For newbies keen to explore, programs such as MIT’s Scratch and Code Combat for Python do a good job in helping develop Computational Thinking while also teaching the fundamentals of programming in a fun and practical way.
- Given an increasing number of programming camps and courses, what should a parent look for to find the camp that suits their children best?
As we mentioned earlier, camps that focus exclusively on teaching a particular programming language – or just coding, for that matter – run the risk of just teaching a skill that will get old over time. Parents should search for camps that focus on encouraging children to be more creative, that develop computational thinking skill and – most importantly – introduce children to multiple aspects of technology (not just software). Children should be encouraged to imagine, explore and discover for themselves the creative power of technology in an environment that is supportive and is individualized to the learning needs of each individual.
- What are your thoughts on Minor Inc.?
Minor Inc addresses a timely need for busy parents to find, enroll in, and manage high quality enrichment opportunities for their children. As parents ourselves, we find Minor Inc.’s curated listings cuts through the noise and help us to make the right decisions for our kids in a fast and convenient platform.
Today’s kids are the first generation in history who will fully use the power of technology for expression. Just as children learn to draw or play a musical instrument, Create Lab believes they should also be allowed to explore the awesome power of technology in the creative process. This will empower them to define who they are not just in the present, but also in the Digital Future.
Do try out their classes for your little Geek!