The Geekulcha Vacation Work Programme saw a number of youngsters flock into mLab at the Innovation Hub to learn.
The activities included building mobile apps, web development, electronics and bringing awareness of business/entrepreneurship skills.
The future GeekStars in the making spent a week acquiring skills from the geeks of Geekulcha who had roles of mentors and tutors.
Candidates from grade 6 to 12 were received with the youngest being 12 years old.
The programme launched over MaxumMonday which was intentionally organised for the vacation workers.
The students came from different areas such as Soshanguve, Hammanskraal, Attridgeville, Thembisa, Midrand, Centurion and the inner parts
of the City of Tshwane. They were educated about values required to withstand the real work place. The students endured a 09:00 to 16:00 day,
submitting their day's work to their mentor for assessment on each day.
The youngsters were challenged to think out of the box; be innovative, take initiative, be collaborative and responsible for the tasks and
projects they were given to complete. The following projects were given to the four teams:
A Windows Phone app that takes high school learners through a tour of the world of ICT by team GeekTech4Teen. The team decided to
create a character, Vuyie, who interacts with you through the app. This team plans on publishing the app this week and have
gotten their DreamSpark accounts through Geekulcha.
A Windows Phone app by team GeekTech4Teen. This app teaches people about poetry and guides them to becoming a phenomenal poets.
The app was given as a bonus app after the team mastered how to use Windows App Studio and Visual studio in three days.
Looking at schools of the future, team DOT created a web application platform to give young people a place to raise their voices
about how they want future schooling to be. The website also takes to highlight current best practices of schools. This platform is
now online as schoolreinvented.geekulcha.com and there are plans to make it bigger and better.
Inspired by the frustration of traffic congestions, team RoboGeeks was given an electronics system project that finds ways to make
traffic smooth on roads. Totally new to electronics, they had to learn and program Arduino. They built the system's prototype.
The aim of this project was to build a density-dependent traffic light system. This system changes the duration of traffic lights
depending on traffic volumes on the lanes of the roads. The project has gotten the three grade 10’s and 11’s excited to be more
innovative with how traffic should ideally be in South Africa.
Business Model Canvas
Team Business Geeks had a project and a role in Business analysis. They were building bases for all the projects that were worked on.
The team was trained to have a business/entrepreneurship mind-set. They worked on building business revenue models as a first task
to their assignment. They also had the responsibility of the documentation projects.
All projects were on learn and implement basis. They were carried out to execution in a space of five days. Teams did wire-framing of
the projects and applications and they were advised to design with reusability in mind.
The closing ceremony, following a Braai, was a formal wear occasion where the functionality of the projects was presented and demonstrated
to the clients. Keynotes were given by Miss Pholile Mhlanga (Geekulcha BA mentor), Gary Bannatyne (the Innovation Hub, Maxum),
ThoughtWorks and the City of Tshwane Representatives.
Certificates of completion and acknowledgement were issued to the youngsters.
Feedback from Vacation Workers
Many of them wished we could prolong the programme while others have indicated that they will be joining us for the next edition. Here is what some had to say:
I do Business studies in school. It was nice to see the principles being applied in the real worldSibusiso Mdlovu, matriculant
I hate that they (fellow team members) call me a boss. We are all bosses!12-year old Nkateko Hlongwane
This week made me realise that I don't have to look for a job, I can be my own bossMalwandla Ngoveni
We acknowledge the following entities who helped make this a success; mLab Southern Africa for the hackerspace and computing resources. The Innovation Hub for providing food and stationary during the course. City of Tshwane for providing transport all week.
ThoughtWorks (YAT) for food (lunch) provision and more stationary resources to profile the candidates and Durban Hub for the Mentorship in Business/Entrepreneurship.
We are already getting requests for the next placement in the programme and we hope that it will only get bigger and better to reach through to many young minds across the country.
Geekulcha Vacation Work programme is part the Future GeekStars initiated by Tiyani Nghonyama and this is what he had to say:
My strongest belief is that the way to address the country's skills shortage issue, is to listen to the voices of the future, the unrealized skills of the young people. Let's all try to invest time and faith into the young ones because they might actually know something we don't that could save the future
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