At 9.00 in the morning, 8 of our employees went over to Apple to help out for the 1-day Apple Coding Camp. The camp’s goal was to allow children to learn programming for first time as well as experiment with various apps on Apple’s iPad.
At first, we started off with a simple icebreaker aimed at familiarising ourselves with the children, where we introduced ourselves to each other. However, after we had gone a full round, the icebreaker had a twist- The children had to line themselves up by their ages in years and months without the aid of speech. Luckily, the children quickly adapted to using hand gestures to communicate their ages and most of them were in the correct place.
Next, they were split off into smaller pairs of two and each were assigned to one student. We used the iPads to create nice collages that allowed all of us to see what we liked to do. After a short break, we then settled back in. This time, our mission was to familiarise ourselves with an app that allowed us to control a Sphero, a spherical robot, to move on the border of a square. We quickly caught onto how we were supposed to use the program and managed to finish the challenge. The trainer in charge told us to navigate to a new app called GarageBand. We soon found out that GarageBand was an extremely easy to use app that allowed its users to easily create music using its Live Loops that even the children picked it up without any instructions. Some of the children were even brave enough to try out their newfound music powers in front of the whole group.
After this, we broke for lunch. Our employees where fortunately able to have our lunch at Caffe Macs, where Apple Employees have there meals. Our that require us to hide an object, but it came with a twist as well- After hiding the object, the children had to use the camera on the iPads to create short videos that used instructions similar to the Spheros to lead another team to the object. Despite the short time we had to discover the objects, the children still managed to find each others objects easily using their videos. Shortly after, we were then tasked to do another mission. Using the Spheros given, we had to create and navigate our own obstacle courses. The only rule was that the obstacle courses could not be too easy or too hard. All of us worked quickly and created a a variety of courses that ranged from diamonds to stars. However, it turned out that the courses were not just for each team to solve by themselves. Each team had to pick another team’s course and attempt to complete it without exiting the course. We scrambled to complete the courses, collaborating our efforts towards completing the course. However, we were still unable to complete the courses on time.
In spite of this, we had still done remarkably well, some teams being halfway through while others were almost done. Before long, the trainer had given us another interesting app to explore- Swift Playgrounds. The app was interesting, allowing each one of us to explore how to use the programming language Swift while keeping it fun and engaging. We could barely tear our eyes off the screen as the trainer told us to go for another break.
When we got back, The trainer had prepared our final activity, the Sphero Race. We were supposed to use all the knowledge that we had accumulated up till now to race around a table in record speed. A buzz ran through the room and we raced to make a program that would carry us through the course. When time was up, each team tried out their program and marvelled at the speed of the Spheros.
At the end of the day, the children came together for a group photo with the trainer. Most of them were happy that they were able to use the iPads and some even wanted to stay on using the iPads. However, as all things are, the children had to leave and with heavy hearts we waved them off as they left.