The initiative is being encouraged and backed up by the business community, keen to play an active part in securing the government's aims and honing youngsters' digital skills. Reshift Digital, Creative Kids Concepts (CKC) and SIDN have formed a unique partnership to provide the 2,700 CKC-affiliated primary schools with a free teaching pack, the Bendoo Arduino Box. The three organisations hope that the pack will help to get more kids interested in technology and computing. Eligible schools can get their new technology packs from the Techniek Torens stand at the IPON onderwijsvakbeurs, an educational exhibition taking place on 7 and 8 February 2018.
Programming your own traffic lights is kids' play
With the materials in the pack, learning the basics of technology and programming is a fun, interactive experience. The Bendoo Arduino Box is built around the Arduino microcomputer and includes a complete eight-lesson plan. There are guidelines for teachers and materials for kids, compiled by the educational experts at Creative Kids Concepts.
"As soon as lights come on and things start bleeping, you see the kids' faces light up. The great thing about this kind of teaching, where kids get to build things, is that they learn through play and share what they've learned."
First, the free pack looks at just how a computer actually works. Kids discover how to build and program their own fully automated piece of technology. That might be a digital piano, a set of traffic lights or a plant watering system. "We want to make technology fun, show young people how things work and fire their imagination," says Reshift Digital's Ramon Wieleman, one of the people behind the initiative. "As soon as lights come on and things start bleeping, you see the kids' faces light up. The great thing about this kind of teaching, where kids get to build things, is that they learn through play and share what they've learned."
The teaching material in the Bendoo Arduino Box integrates seamlessly with the ongoing science and technology pathway called De Techniek Torens ('The Technology Towers'). Children work independently in small groups, making the lesson series easy for all teachers to use.
Soon all kids will be able to program
"If the Netherlands is going to retain its capacity for innovation, it's really important that future generations have the skill set to be technology creators, not just technology users. And it's up to us, the business community, to do what we can to make sure that they acquire that skill set," Ramon Wieleman continues. "So we're really pleased that, thanks to our partnership with SIDN, we can make these technology packs available to primary schools free of charge."
No time to lose
SIDN's CEO Roelof Meijer backs up that view: "It's great that the new administration is going to make digital skills part of the curriculum. But we can't just leave it at that. Everywhere you look, the world is going digital. And fast! So there's no time to lose. By making this free pack available, we hope to add impetus to the government scheme and to help primary schools get working on digital literacy."
About Reshift Digital
As the biggest tech-media publisher in the Netherlands, Reshift Digital reaches more than six million people a month with leading labels such as Kieskeurig.nl, Computer!Totaal and Computer Idee. Reshift organises the IPON exhibition of innovation and ICT in education, and inspires software developers with knowledge events, including J-Fall and IoT Tech Day. Reshift enables youngsters to discover technology in a modern way by producing learning packs such as the Bendoo Box and by organising the Devoxx4Kids coding events.
About Creative Kids Concepts
Creative Kids Concepts helps primary teachers deliver lessons on knowledge-intensive topics, which are challenging yet accessible and fun. CKC does that by providing high-quality, comprehensive, low-threshold teaching programmes (complete with all the necessary materials and lesson crates), suitable for immediate, integrated and schoolwide rollout.
Creative Kids Concepts has already developed three innovative, creative teaching programmes for primary schools: De Techniek Torens ('The Technology Towers', a science and technology programme), De Pittige Plus Torens ('The Tough Towers Plus', a creative supplement for gifted children) and Het KunstKabinet ('The Art Box', an art and heritage programme). For more info, visit creativekidsconcepts.com.