Awesome, inspiring and futuristic! This best describes the infant computer skills competition that was held by Kinderkastle Preparatory School in partnership with Dzidzo Inhaka E-learning recently. 60 infant learners at the centre showcased their digital skills as their parents came face to face with realities of the e-learning driven updated curriculum.
The children aged between two and five years battled for supremacy in completing computer based tasks that ranged from painting, solving puzzles, connecting dots, matching shapes and pictures – activities that required excellent mouse handling skills, eye hand coordination and advanced fine motor skills. Winners were awarded medals and certificates. In a move that will make proponents of girl child empowerment glee with joy girls scooped six medals except one.
In her speech, the guest of honour from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Early Childhood District Trainer for Mabvuku Epworth Tafara district Fortunate Ureke, highlighted the importance of computer education and its positive influence on child development.
“Computer education facilitates a variety of skills which are also associated with employment in the areas of programming and graphic design. The basic skills required in these areas include intelligence, emotional intelligence, hand-eye coordination, mathematical skills and social competence. In the future, the majority of companies will be web-orientated in their business, and will expect employees to be able to support their business system to the core,” she said.
In an interview with the bridge, Kinderkastle Head of Administration Sekai Muringai whose school is a member of the Dzidzo Inhaka Infant Computer Skills League, said they organized the e-learning day in an effort to bridge the gap between parents and the e-learning curriculum.
“Parents seemed not to understand what children will be learning and how they learn. We also dearly wanted to create a platform where learners could exhibit their computer skills, just like when athletes show off their skills on track.”
“The event managed to promote e-learning both within our parents and the public. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education represented by Mrs Ureke also acknowledged the importance of e-learning and appreciated the efforts we are making as a school to keep abreast with the updated curriculum,” she added.
Cynthia Chagonda a parent said, “It was a great experience to see that e-learning makes our children to fit in this modern world which is full of technology and we are very happy for that.”
Kudiwa Nguwi took top spot in connecting dots on a touch screen in the (2) year olds category. Alitha Muchaka and Alyssa Mutsike came second and third respectively. In the (3) year olds age group Lexy Muchaya used her creative prowess to scoop gold with Prelogious Chagonda and Makatendeka Chibaya providing stiff competition in a category they painted a picture of a girl picking apples. The breathtaking mouse controlling skills of Anesu Kunudyariwa saw him win the shapes dragging and matching competition in which they built a rocket. Ethan Karidza and Donald Machaya came second and third respectively.
Christian Ncube ruled the roost followed by Nzwirache Saungweme and Sarah Mazando in the (4) year old category where they dragged and matched spring and winter pictures. The big one was scooped by Lenore Ganyani who shrugged off competition from Tawananyasha Mutondohori and Rayne Chigodo in solving a five level puzzle. Nothando Gore won the gold medal in the parents category.
The founder of the Infant computer skills competition and Dzidzo Inhaka E-learning Executive Director Shepherd Chimururi who doubled up as consultant and commentator for the event explained that gamification of computer education is a national initiative whose goal is to promote computer skills for learners in a competitive atmosphere of a sporting discipline.
“It is designed to identify, groom nurture and foster the next generation of young tech savy learners with the capacity to surpass inventions of technological icons like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg, etc. The competition’s alignment with the school STEM based curriculum enables students to apply what they learn. It is a great way to generate students’ and schools’ interest in the participating in information and communication technology (ICT) which in turn will lead to the growth of the ICT industry and the economy and inspire our own technological heroes. Our children should be able to get scholarships,” he added.
The competition was presided over by two renowned ECD ICT experts Leniah Makado and Mitchell Mkwepu. Other schools that have recently held computer skills competitions are Kids University pre school, Shallom Junior College, Good Samaritan Primary and Southside View pre school with more schools expected to join the fray