How can a group of kids multiply their creativity by learning to code?

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Recently we have decided to put Belgium on the map by introducing computer programming to kids by using the wonderful and child-friendly, multilingual Scratch programming environment. And what time could be better than the International Scratch Day 2012 for this mission? Thanks to the facilities and support provided by Antwerp International School, not only the students from this school, but also children from other parts of the Antwerp were able to join this one-day introductory workshop.

I had a lot of fun by watching the immense creativity of children from 9-year olds to 13-year olds. Before the workshop started I had some doubts, but the enthusiasm of the children, especially after learning the simplest programming concepts, and seeing that they could easily apply these to colorful graphics and sounds, had a powerful and multiplying effect on them. Another nice aspect of the event was the collaboration between children, between boys and girls; in order to help each other overcome some technical challenges. You can visit to see a sample of the projects created by the children during the day.

One of the many projects created on the International Scratch Day 2012 @ Antwerp, Belgium

One of the many projects created on the International Scratch Day 2012 @ Antwerp, Belgium

The event lasted slightly more than 3 hours, and it turned out to be above my expectations: at the end of the day, we had to scratch the kids off the computers so that they could go home, and of course continue coding there, using what they learned that day and what they are going to learn in the upcoming days, with the help of Scratch community.

I hope this event is going to inspire similar events, because I believe in the importance of introducing computational thinking concepts and patterns to children from a very early age, so that they can be computational problem solvers in any field they choose to study in the future. I think this also means going beyond merely being a “digital  native”, and becoming a producer of ideas and implementations rather than just being a passive consumer of Internet entertainment and data explosion.

TEDxKids @ Brussels 2011

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48 kids are going to get their hands dirty, soldering, tinkering, hacking, and composing. A series of hands-on workshops led by world-class Mentors will introduce the kids to a range of skills and methods. Meanwhile, grown-ups will be treated to an all day program of leading thinkers and experts. Our line-up of speakers includes: Mark Frauenfelder (MAKE Magazine), Cory Doctorow (, Tan Le (Emotiv), and Gever Tulley (Tinkering School) among others.

The world premier of TEDx Kids@Brussels will be taking place on June 1, 2011 at St John’s International School in Waterloo, Belgium.

For more information, visit:

TEDxKids @ Brussels 2011

TEDxKids @ Brussels 2011

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