When was the last time you failed at something, but had fun doing it nonetheless? This was the question Mindjoy posed to Hypertext when we attended a virtual coding session on Thursday afternoon.
Mindjoy is a Cape Town-based edtech startup that has set itself the ambitious goal of teaching one million children how to code, and after this afternoon’s session, that goal seems achievable considering how great the platform is.
Mindjoy makes use of the Replit environment to help teach children how to code in Python although there are also courses for cryptography and machine learning coming at some point in the future. The platform is really well laid out and fairly easy to navigate. Parents are also able to check their child’s progress.
Through live classes with small groups, children aged 8-years old and up are encouraged to have “hard fun” while coding. Sessions allow the learners to learn at their own pace and even help each other.
During our session we saw this in effect. Without prompt other attendees were offering to help, others were theorising why errors were popping up in their code and, well, hard fun was had.
The whole process just feels so natural and when your code runs without errors, you feel a real sense of achievement.
Coaches, who lead the session, are able to see how the projects of learners are going and offer guidance. We say guidance but its more of a nudge in the right direction. For instance, while theorising about why syntax was used in some instances or not, our coach didn’t give us the answer but rather let us know whether we were on the right track. This seems small but once we had arrived at the right answer, we felt a real sense of accomplishment.
The team at Mindjoy is quite frankly oozing passion for what they do. Our coding session was lead by Gabi Immelman who is also the founder of the company.
“Being forced into boring educational environments means kids build up resistance to learning. Our approach is to let the kids lead and invite their friends to learn alongside them. We believe that every child should have the opportunity to experience learning that is joyful, curious and inspiring,” says Immelman.
Throughout our session this rang true. We were the leaders and Immelman was just a coach helping us when we needed it.
While enrolling your child in Mindjoy will cost R1 000 per month per child, the company also partners with corporates who are able to purchase memberships for children from underprivileged backgrounds.
A memberships gives a child access to unlimited open training sessions and weekly scheduled sessions. The sessions are facilitated by vetted and trained coaches, who are tasked with encouraging curiosity and supporting rigorous analytical thinking.
Children also go through an onboarding process which allows Mindjoy to place children with similar learning styles or personalities together.
“We won’t be able to truly benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution or the metaverse unless we help kids to become lifelong learners. This business is about making that a reality, while also teaching kids to enjoy acquiring the type of technology skills South Africa and Africa as a continent requires from its future creators,” says Immelman.
The most impressive aspect of Mindjoy is that hasn’t limited itself purely to South African students. Children from the United Kingdom, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, South Africa, Nigeria and Namibia join sessions and more countries are being added weekly.
After today’s session we have this burning itch to learn some more Python. If that’s not a testament to how great the platform Immelman and her team have built, you’re going to just have to ask your child to check it out. We’re certain they’ll love it as much as we did.
To find out more about Mindjoy, head to the official website here.
This content was originally published here.