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Programming in the Metaverse is very easy

Rubén Aparicio, CEO of Minicoders.Carlo Ribas

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

“Consolidating knowledge about algorithms at a young age is enormously interesting for developing their creativity and logical thinking. No matter what they do, whether they are engineers or veterinarians, they all have to interact with software throughout their lives,” explains Rubén Aparicio, CEO of Minicoders, the educational platform co-founded by Nuclios Venture Builder a few years ago. less than a year. the new tarnishingheadquartered at Tech Barcelona’s Pier 01, plans to launch a capital raising process in the coming months to establish itself in the Asian market, where “kids’ use of the metaverse is much more advanced,” they say.

Not only “awakening technological professions that are needed,” gamification makes learning easier, since “guided play – in this case, through a virtual assistant who helps kids overcome challenges – is ideal for the classroom,” he continues and builds on the findings of a recent study by the University of Cambridge.

Developing educational initiatives in the Metaverse is a great way to reach children, according to the CEO of Minicoders, as “social play brings the richness of digital interaction to the Metaverse.” “Kids already use the metaverse extensively,” he warns. “They shift the focus from individual play to the metaverse paradigm and interact with their avatar in a virtual world. The children’s audience can be found on two platforms, Roblox and Minecraft, so it’s convenient to create educational gaming experiences on them, ”he says.

While they don’t rule out creating similar gaming experiences in Minecraft, Minicoders chose Roblox for their first release. “Currently, Roblox reaches 300 million users per month and has easily surpassed Minecraft with 140. Nevertheless, the relevant platforms are changing rapidly, so we monitor their development very closely,” he argues. “We’re considering the opportunity to have another experience in Roblox and debut in Minecraft because there are kids who are very into Minecraft,” he adds.

Both Roblox and Minecraft focus on the education sector. Minecraft educational edition It has been in operation for five years while Roblox is taking its first steps in this area through its initiative Roblox education. “It’s very new and still a bit green, but it helps the traditional school to be present on Roblox. We follow it closely and when it matures we want to be there,” says Aparicio.

Referring to the controversies surrounding the security of this platform, Aparicio clarifies that the “very few incidents” in this environment have had worrying repercussions, “but they are very few, since the platform censors in real time behaviors and expressions that are not for the children are suitable in public. In Roblox, you can access servers, public or private, where only that child plays, or the users that that child is allowed to interact with,” he adds, in defense of the platform chosen to create the Magic School and which bears the Kid seal. Secure.

In the basic version of Roblox, Magic School is free. “We have opted for an open game to reach most children, but we offer a subscription for less than 5 euros per month to access the parental controls area and support audiovisual content. We offer parents the opportunity to understand their children’s environment and 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 enjoy the metaverse. We have 70 active challenges and we open new features every week by introducing new mechanics, different collaborative games, new powers, new characters… Gaming experiences in the Metaverse are not closed games like Mario Kart could be, as they all communicate frequently with users. The game has some basics, but the details of what can be done are constantly expanding. Children expect these changes,” stresses the CEO of Minicoders, which currently employs a team of 15 professionals to produce this content.

The first ten Magic School challenges introduce the most basic concepts such as: B. how a program consists of a sequence of instructions. Challenge 11 through 20 work on loops that are executed repeatedly to make programming easier and more structured. In Challenges 21 through 39, children learn to use techniques to avoid repeating blocks of instruction within the main program and to facilitate later changes. From challenges 31 to 40 the conditional is edited to define different modes of execution considering possibilities that are completed 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 build threads of parallel execution that allow tasks to run concurrently. In the final challenges from 61 to 70, the concept of the infinite loop is integrated to repeat a routine indefinitely.

Not only can parents follow their children’s progress in each of these coding fundamentals in real time, but they can also “see what kind of play their child is showing, whether individually, collectively or competitively, because through play we encourage working as a team and the father.” can also help promote it,” reveals Aparicio.

The sorcerer’s apprentice that Biel has as an avatar at the magic school wears a blue cape, the color of the team he’s part of, to compete online and solve challenges to gain powers and new pets while exploring this virtual universe of castles , cities and magical forests explored. In order to promote the competition, the organizers of the Magic School involved influencers such as Krao, SrtaLuly or RussoPlays.

“We have several teams in the league. Krao has accepted yellow. Russoplays, the blue one. She and her followers compete with the other teams on the sports fields and challenge each other to win weekly prizes in the form of pets and powers,” explains Rubén Aparicio.

For Krao, who posts videos about the game on YouTube, working on this project is “interesting” because he thinks “players will get a lot out of all the time they spend playing on Roblox.” . This youtuber’s opinion: “Minicoders did a very good job of combining fun with learning. We’re used to hearing over and over again that games aren’t good and only instill bad things in players. I never thought so. In any case, we can also use the time we spend playing to learn.”

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