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Game Lab Expands Reach to a Second School

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With three successful years already firmly tucked under its belt, Learning Innovation Design Lab excitedly kicked off to a great start in January 2017 with more than 45 previously disadvantaged high school students signed up to participate in the Game Lab project. This year is particularly special in that it’s the first time the Game Lab project has received funding from The Learning Trust enabling the initiative to expand its reach to a second school in Cape Town. Along with students at Silikamva High School, students at Hout Bay High School in Hangberg will now have the opportunity to benefit from the same opportunities afforded by the Game Lab program.

“The response to the course has been awesome and the learners are very excited about the program,” Mr Julius, the principal at Hout Bay High School tells us. “What we would really like to do is be able to give more students the opportunity to join and have more Game Lab classes during the week.”

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Game Lab is an 8-week long, after-school program that teaches children how to design, develop and program their own video games using an online tool called Scratch. To some, choosing to teach video game design may seem like an out of the box idea, but the process reinforces educational outcomes and helps the students develop their English and storytelling skills, mathematics and logic competencies and improves social awareness and other interpersonal skills. The project is also designed to provide students with the opportunity to get comfortable with technology and, more specifically, the concepts and approaches to coding, to prepare them for careers in an ever more technology-reliant and engaged world.

The innovative program is facilitated by two tech-savvy Youth from Hout Bay, Imizamo Yethu. Lelothando Bokuva and Lwazi Sifo find it rewarding to pass on their knowledge to disadvantaged kids. But they also see it as an opportunity for their own career:

“I’m especially enjoying teaching coding,” Lwazi explains. “And the students really enjoy it even though they sometimes find it quite challenging.”

“Teaching students has given me a lot of self-confidence,” Lelothando adds, “I definitely see that the skills I’ve gained working as a tutor for Game Lab program will be useful for my career in future, especially as I plan on entering the IT profession.”

Having a reliable internet connect is essential to the success of the Game Lab project and the lack of a stable connection at Silikamva has been a significant hurdle. An intermittent internet connection has in the past meant that classes have been delayed or have had to be rescheduled. The lack of a dedicated IT Facilitator has also meant many technical difficulties for the Learning Innovation Design Lab. This year, however, the team plans to equip the Game Lab facilitators with proper ICT training to support the project.

The current course will run until the end of March 2017. “In the past, Game Lab students have reported improvements while teachers and school administrators have commented on the learners’ confidence boost,” says Rosa. “We’re sure that this year will be no different and we’re looking forward to seeing what each student produces.”

01 February 2017 Posted By : Megan Hughes 0 Comments
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