I would like to take you back to seven years ago and share the story of when we started Workshop4Me. Being a techie, coder myself, I was managing large technical software implementations as my full-time job. My children were 11 and 6 years old respectively, and I wanted to share with them the joy of coding, creating, putting their ideas and creativity into something tangible that they could share. I thought that as they are growing up in an age where everything around them has techology in it, they should use technology to "create" and not just be "consumers". I looked around and did not find anywhere to give them that skill. On the other hand, they were playing games. My idea was to let them have the skills to create their own game rather than just play a game.
I spoke to other parents and I found that they have no expectations around it. They thought that the school system was sufficient and did not even know that their children needed to learn coding. That actually made me more determined to do something. I wanted to move children who are “passive players” to becoming “active creators”. That is how Workshop4Me was born. I founded it with my 12-year-old son, Atreyam (Leo). It was a roaring success from the word go. It gave me the feeling of deja vu of the iPhone moment when consumers did not know what they want and when they got it, they could not anymore live without it.
We started doing coding sessions in an informal atmosphere over the weekends. Children would come and create whatever they wanted - a car racing game, or dress me up app, or ballerina dancing .Instead of being restrictive like a school, it was playful and fun for the children! They were with their friends, sharing ideas, stories, creations and bringing them to life via code.
To make the session enjoyable for children, I brought in Atreyam, 12 years to co-facilitate the sessions. He has been a smart kid and soon became quite popular amongst children. I realized that the children learn faster from their peers of around the same age. This has been a fascinating discovery and became the hallmark and unique way of our knowledge delivery in 2014 itself. Till date this remains unparalleled anywhere in the world. While we had a curriculum, the children learnt via their own creations. While making a story, animation, game, or app on whatever they wanted, they were learning computer science concepts. Often we have seen children test the app of their peers and give them valuable suggestions on features to implement.
We have had several stories of shy children holding onto their parent's hands when they walk in on Day 1 and then from Day 2 onwards they come in hopping and time flies! They even refuse to go on their holidays with their parents so they do not miss the coding session! Several children have become more confident, learned to be more social, and interact with peers. Several children became good presenters and great team players all as a by-product of learning to code at the classes!
Our success led to the Government of Luxembourg introducing coding in schools from 2020