Event Review: Kode It, Sparkies! 2019

At just one week, the March school holidays are typically a short breather for students, who may take the time to catch up on schoolwork or enjoy their hobbies. But for the children who participated in Kode It, Sparkies! 2019, this March holiday was equally filled with learning and fun. Making its 2019 return in the lush environments of Shangri La Hotel Singapore, this second run welcomed local and international students from the ages of 9 – 12 on 18, 19 and 23 March.

The three-day hackathon for upper primary school children was designed to introduce the basics of coding and engage the child’s creativity to create high tech solutions to real-world problems. Jointly organised by Kodecoon and Times Experience, a subsidiary of Times Publishing Limited, the event was supported by Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts (Singapore), Pilot Pen Singapore, and Urbanvims.

Day 1

Participants trying their hands at coding with HTML and CSS.

Participants trying their hands at coding with HTML and CSS.

No sleeping in for the participants as the day started early! After introductions to their tablemates and the Kodecoon team, they dove right into the basics of coding with CSS and HTML. The budding coders were able to immediately practice what they have learnt by building their very own website. Problem statements were also given as practice guides to give participants a taste of what was to come in the actual hackathon.

Experiencing Shangri-La's signature hospitality and beautiful environment.

Experiencing all that Shangri-La Hotel Singapore has to offer on a guided tour!

They also took a tour of Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, who kindly played host. As their eyes took in the beautiful surroundings, Sparkies learnt more about the ins and outs of running a hotel and accommodations business. Those who paid attention were rewarded as the information came in handy later…

Day 2

After an exciting first day, it was time to put their thinking hats on! The little Sparkies formed groups and came up with innovative ideas to address the main theme of Smart Nation and how technology can be used to improve our daily lives. However, they were surprised by a secondary task: showcasing Shangri-La as a staycation destination. This did not prove to be a great challenge, especially with the scrumptious meals and tea breaks catered by Shangri-La that fuelled our little Sparkies; many satisfied faces were spotted as they happily munched on.

The kids brainstormed in groups to generate the most creative ideas and make new friends!The kids brainstormed in groups to generate the most creative ideas.

Their Shangri-La Hotel experience would not be complete without a visit to Buds, an interactive play space with ball pits, nets, slides, mazes and more. After two days of hard work and thinking, the kids let loose at the indoor and outdoor areas, which included the Explorer Zone, a giant pirate ship structure and even a water play zone.

Day 3 at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa

It was time to put our little Sparkies’ ideas to the test on Day 3. With just three and a half hours, every second was precious as the groups put together a prototype and presentation to bring their idea to life.

Building their prototypes using materials provided by Pilot Pen and Urbanvims.

Building their prototypes using materials provided by Pilot Pen and Urbanvims.

Using materials sponsored by Pilot and Urbanvims, small hands drew, cut, glued and built their innovative creations. Each child took their work seriously as they performed various job roles, managing different aspects of the project.

Our little Sparkies quickly picking up the basics of coding with HTML and CSS.

Working in their groups in preparation for the big presentation.

Groups were required to address two themes: The Best of Shangri-La and Smart Nation: Hospitality. Sparkies must come up with an idea for an app, service or device that supports one of three functions: Sustainability, Efficiency, and Emergency.

Judges and parents looking on as the little Sparkies presented their innovative ideas.

Judges and parents looking on as the little Sparkies presented their innovative ideas.

One team’s creation was WeaponEye. The threat scanner answers the Emergency aspect of the given theme. The innovation in its concept is its concealment; it is designed to be integrated within items and fixtures that are part of the surroundings, maintaining the relaxing and beautiful appearance of a holiday destination.

Taking home the Kode It, Sparkies 2019 Champion title was Friends at Buds. Travelling is great fun, but it can also take you away from familiar friends. Inspired by the fun time they enjoyed at Buds by Shangri-La, the group had the idea to create a handy app which allows users to make new friends and holiday buddies, creating fond memories.

The 1st Runner Up team is all smiles as they claim their trophies and prizes.The 1st Runner Up team all smiles as they claim their trophies and prizes.

For many of the participants, the event was a great introduction to the world of coding. In addition, they got to learn a new skill, exercise their creativity, practise their ability to work in teams and present their ideas to a crowd. Best of all, they made new friends and fond memories. Now, who ever said learning cannot be fun?