Day 6 - Penang, here we come!

We set off from the state of Kedah to Penang early in the morning and met our new team member Valerie at the school. We were feeling a bit touristy too as we are scheduled to remain here for the rest of the week.

As we arrived, we were greeted by a friendly teacher who showed us the way to the computer lab. We installed the software on the computers and waited for the students to arrive. As they walked in, they sat down according to their friendship groups. I took lead of the class and directed them toward the front of the class to familiarize them with the Mbot module.

I found out that the language barrier between English and Mandarin was not a deal breaker but students from a majority Chinese populated school found it more comfortable when Mandarin was used to run the workshop and likewise with the Malay language for majority Malay populated schools.

As the lesson went on the kids once again figured out the pattern of the software and could complete the modules without tearing their hair out. It was challenging to the point where many questions were asked but not impossible to the point of quitting. Slowly but surely the students all saw the potential and power programming held as the Mbots came to life one by one. It was very refreshing to see that in every workshop the kids would be awed by how a few lines of code could bring something in their world to life.

Nearing the end of the workshop, the competition of the Mbots commenced. The students typed in their finishing touches and brought their Mbots to the battle mat where they would face each other for the grand prize of 3D printed goodies. The class went all out every battle, screaming and yelling at each other. The energy from the students reminded the team how something that may seem very normal to us (an Mbot) was a completely foreign piece of equipment to some of these students. They battled and out came the victor (Team Avenger). They came up to collect their prizes and we ended the workshop with a speech about what being a maker is all about.

A few stayed back to ask me about my camera equipment as they were aspiring film makers. It felt rejuvenating to have younger students venturing into an art that is so rare and scarce in the landscape of Malaysia. I gave them some advice and they left with a smile hanging on their faces as if my words were all they needed for affirmation 


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