Programming In The Metaverse Is Child’s Play

Ruben Aparicio, CEO of Minicoders.Carlos Ribaso

“I have new powers for my wizard apprentice!” Celebrates 7-year-old Biel, after overcoming the challenge of programming the movements of his avatar’s virtual pet in the Magic School experience on Roblox. Without realizing it, like the more than 30,000 boys and girls aged 6 to 12 who have played since the beginning of Magic School at the end of the last school year, Beale is learning the basics of computer programming.

“The consolidation of knowledge of algorithms at an early age is extremely interesting for developing their creativity and their logical thinking. Throughout their lives, whatever they do, whether they are engineers or veterinarians, they all interact with software. going,” explains Ruben Aparicio, CEO of Minicoders, the educational platform he co-founded at Nucleo’s Venture Builder a few years ago. less than a year. this new start upThe tech, headquartered in Barcelona’s Pier 01, plans to begin the capital raising process in the coming months to launch itself in the Asian market, where “children’s use of the Metaverse is more advanced,” it reveals.

Gamification, in addition to “aware tech professions will need”, facilitates learning, because “guided play—in this case through a virtual assistant that helps children overcome challenges—is ideal for teaching.” ”, he continues, building on the findings of a recent Cambridge University study.

Developing educational initiatives in the Metaverse is a good way to reach children, in the opinion of the CEO of Minicoders, because “social play in the Metaverse brings the richness of digital interactions”. “Kids are already making heavy use of the metaverse,” he warns. “They are shifting the focus from individual play to the Metaverse paradigm, with their avatars interacting with each other in virtual worlds. The children’s audience is found on two platforms, Roblox and Minecraft, hence the educational game experience on them. It is convenient to make”, he confirmed.

While they don’t rule out creating a similar gaming experience in Minecraft, for their first release, Minicoders have opted for Roblox. “Currently, Roblox reaches 300 million users per month and has dramatically overtaken Minecraft, which has 140. Nevertheless, relevant platforms change rapidly, so we are very attentive to their development,” he said. It’s logic. “We are looking at the opportunity to have another experience in Roblox as well as get started in Minecraft, because there are kids who are into Minecraft a lot,” he adds.

Both Roblox and Minecraft bet on the educational sector. Minecraft Education Edition It has been in operation for five years, while Roblox is taking the first step in this area through its initiative roblox education, “It’s very new and it’s still a little green, but it’s helping the traditional school get a presence on Roblox. We follow it closely and we want to be there when it matures” Aparicio goes on.

Regarding the controversies surrounding the security of this platform, Aparicio clarifies that “very few incidents” in this environment have worrisome consequences, “but they are very few, as the platform is exposed to censors in real-time behavior and expressions.” Not suitable for children public. In Roblox, you can access public or private servers where only the child plays or users with whom that child is allowed to interact,” he chose to create Magic School Says in defense of platform, which has kid seal.

In its basic version, Magic School is free on Roblox. “We have opted for an open game to reach the largest number of children, but we offer a subscription for less than 5 euros per month to access the parental control area and support audiovisual content We provide parents with the opportunity to understand the environment in which their children are and to visualize their progress”, says Aparicio.

“As kids progress through the programming blocks, they unlock various magical powers and in-game features that allow them to explore and have fun in the Metaverse. We have 70 active challenges and we do this every week. Opens up new features, introduces new mechanics, different collaboration games, new powers, new characters… In the Metaverse the game experience doesn’t stop like Mario Kart can, because they all involve frequent communication with users. There are few basics in the game, but the extent of what can be done is constantly expanding. Kids look forward to finding those changes”, highlights the CEO of Minicoders, which currently has the production of these materials. Have a team of 15 professionals.

The first ten challenges of the School of Magic introduce the most basic concepts, such as how a program is made up of a sequence of instructions. From challenges 11 to 20, loops are worked out, which are executed over and over again to make the program easier and more structured. In challenges 21 to 39, children learn to implement procedures to avoid repetition of instruction blocks within the main program, facilitating later revisions. From challenges 31 to 40, conditional work is done to define different modes of execution considering probabilities, which are complemented during challenges 41 to 50 by introducing the logical operators OR-o- and AND -and. In the next ten challenges, from 51 to 60, they form threads of parallel execution, which allow tasks to be completed at the same time. In previous challenges, from 61 to 70, the concept of an infinite loop is integrated to repeat indefinitely on a regular basis.

In addition to following their child’s progress in each of these programming fundamentals in real time, parents can “see what type of play their child performs, whether individually, collaboratively or competitively.” Obviously, because by sport, we promote work as a team and fathers can help promote that too”, revealed Aparicio.

The magician apprentice at the Magic School wears a blue hat as Beal’s avatar, the color of the team that takes on online challenges to acquire powers and new pets while exploring this virtual universe of castles, towns and magical forests. Part of the competition. To encourage competition, magic school promoters have enlisted influencers such as Crow, Sritaluli or RussoPlay.

“We have many teams in the league. Crow has adopted the color yellow. Russople, the blue one. He and his followers compete with the rest of the team on the gym court and challenge each other to win weekly prizes in the form of pets and powers”, explains Ruben Aparicio.

For Crao, which publishes videos about the game on YouTube, collaborating on the project is “interesting” because he believes “there’s a lot to be gained from all the time players spend playing on Roblox.” Is.” In the opinion of this YouTuber, “Minicoders have managed to mix fun with learning very well. We are used to hearing time and again that games are not good and only bad things happen to players. I never thought so. In any case, the amount of time we spend playing, we can use to learn as well.”

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