The past two Sundays employees and friends of IBM have volunteered for the 15th year in a row as teachers of a series of classes on ‘Information Technology’ to primary school students from disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Weekendschool 2016

Around 40 students from the IMC Weekendschool got acquitted with what it means to work for an IT company, learning about different employee roles, computer technology, robotics, Internet of Things, programming and information security. Taking real problems and solving them with the vast amount of IT capabilities that exist these days.

The IMC Weekendschool annually assists about 115 curious youngsters from disadvantaged neighborhoods to voluntarily follow a curriculum on Sundays. These young people, aged 10 to 14 years, get acquainted with different disciplines from the world of culture, science and society. In three years they make in about 80 Sundays acquainted with different fields, with the goal of course, to offer them the best possible future.

The first series of classes on Sunday April 4th the students learned how to help the Mayor of Amsterdam to clean up all the junk in a smart way after the national festivity Kingsday. Or better yet, how to prevent it from getting a mess. IT and technology formed the basis of the ideas. The most diverse inventions emerged: of flying drones with giant garbage-vacuum-cleaners and an underground pipeline network using sensors and intelligent software to separates waste to ensure proper disposal. Secondly we got the kids how to program robots to perform specific tasks.

In the second series, last Sunday, the kids were taught the distinct difference between data and information, with exercises on deciding what information you share with others. We ended the lesson with a little debate about the convenience and the danger of today’s world, where information is shared widely. Secondly we explained the basics of programming, and putting these basics in practice using Scratch. By simply dragging programs routines as IF-THEN-ELSE the students created ‘intelligent bins’ that matched the Kingsday exercise from the first series of lessons.

Originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse.

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Edwin Schouten

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