Programming in the metaverse is a snap

Ruben Aparicio, CEO of Minicoders.carlos ribasso

“I have new powers for my sorcerer’s apprentice!” Celebrates 7-year-old Biel after taking on 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 ages 6 to 12 who have played since Magic School started at the end of last school year, Beale is learning the basics of computer programming.

“The consolidation of knowledge in algorithms from an early age is extremely interesting for developing their creativity and logical thinking. Throughout their lives, whatever they do, whether they are engineers or veterinarians, they all interact with software. going,” says 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 startThe tech, headquartered at Pier 01 in Barcelona, ​​plans to begin the fundraising process in the coming months to launch in the Asian market, where “kids’ use of the Metaverse is more advanced. “, he reveals.

Gamification, in addition to “raising awareness of technology professions”, facilitates learning, because “guided play – in this case via a virtual assistant that helps children overcome challenges – is ideal for teaching”. “, he continues, based on the conclusions of a recent study by the University of Cambridge.

Developing educational initiatives in the Metaverse is a good way to reach children, according to 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 shift 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 gaming experience on these. It’s convenient to do,” he confirmed.

If they do not rule out creating a similar gaming experience in Minecraft, for their first version, the Minicoders opted for Roblox. “Currently, Roblox reaches 300 million monthly users and has significantly surpassed Minecraft, which has 140. Nevertheless, the platforms involved are changing rapidly, so we are very attentive to their development,” he said. It’s logic. “We are considering the opportunity to have another experience in Roblox as well as to start in Minecraft, because there are children who really like Minecraft,” he adds.

Both Roblox and Minecraft are betting on the education sector. Minecraft Education Edition It has been operational for five years, as Roblox takes the first step in this field thanks to its initiative roblox education, “It’s very new and it’s still a bit green, but it helps the traditional school to be present on Roblox. We are following it closely and we want to be there when it comes of age,” continues Aparicio.

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

In its basic version, Magic School is free on Roblox. “We have opted for an open game to reach the greatest number of children, but we offer a subscription for less than 5 euros per month to access the parental control area and take charge of audiovisual content. We offer parents 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 Opens new features, introduces new mechanics, different collaboration games, new powers, new characters… In the Metaverse, the game experience does not stop like Mario Kart, because they all involve frequent communication with users. There are few basics in the game, but the scope of what can be done is constantly expanding. Kids can’t wait to find these changes,” emphasizes the CEO of Minicoders, which currently has production of these materials.Have a team of 15 professionals.

The first ten Magic School challenges 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 developed, which are performed over and over again to make the program easier and more structured. In challenges 21 to 39, children learn to implement procedures to avoid repeating blocks of instructions in the main program, making later revisions easier. From challenges 31 to 40, conditional work is carried out to define different modes of execution taking into account the probabilities, which are completed during challenges 41 to 50 by the introduction of the logical operators OR-o- and AND -and. In the following ten challenges, from 51 to 60, they form parallel threads of execution, which allow tasks to be completed at the same time. In the previous challenges, from 61 to 70, the concept of an infinite loop is integrated to repeat itself indefinitely on a regular basis.

In addition to tracking their child’s progress in each of these coding fundamentals in real time, parents can “see what kind of game their child is performing, whether individually, collaboratively, or competitively.” Obviously, because through sport you promote teamwork and fathers can help promote that too,” revealed Aparicio.

The magic school’s apprentice magician wears a blue hat as the avatar of Beal, the color of the team who completes online challenges to gain powers and new pets while exploring this virtual universe castles, towns and magical forests. Part of the competition. To encourage competition, promoters of magic schools have used influencers such as Crow, Sritaluli or RussoPlay.

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

For Crao, who posts videos of the game on YouTube, collaborating on the project is “interesting” because he thinks “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 done a great job of mixing fun and learning. We’re used to hearing time and time again that games aren’t good and only bad things happen to players. I never thought so. In any case, the time we spend playing, we can also use to learn.

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