The program aims at spreading the culture of informatics in the new generation and deepening it with deliberate steps in order to meet the growing scientific need of this segment within the field of programming and information in accordance with their age and mental abilities. The training program for children and youths serves the social responsibility principle of the Center for Training and Lifelong Learning and is in line with the mission of the Syrian Virtual University in supporting the process of e-learning and the teaching of young people the principles of modern programming and entrepreneurship to create a productive and conscious generation and not a technology-with its various applications and services consumer- one.
- Teaching children and youths programming skills at an early age enhance their theoretical and creative thinking abilities, train them to solve problems, and improve interaction with technology.
- Increasing and developing the skills needed to design and build computer software and converting the student from an ordinary user to a programmer.
- Teaching this science to children and youths addresses the lack of future programmers and developers.
The Kids Programming Marathon(KPM) seeks to raise the level of software development skills among the generation of children and adolescents aged 8 to 15, in order to have the ability to smoothly, effectively and firmly enter the world of knowledge economy. Concerning its vision, KPM focuses on two axes: horizontally speaking regarding the first axis, it endeavors to gradually expand and reach out to Syrian children and adolescents spanning the Syrian geography in order to prepare them in an advanced way in the fields of software technologies; vertically speaking , it aims to monitor cases of distinctiveness to be secured additional care in order to consolidate the leadership and distinctiveness skills of these cases, and to be highlighted as Syrian at the national, regional and international levels.
Providing the category of Syrian children and adolescents between the ages of 8 and 15 with modern training based on developing programming skills, advanced evolving content and certified trainers in order to prepare this category in an advanced way that will gain them the foundations of logical thinking and programming development skills. Thus, they can later engage in a university system dependant on novelty and innovation .
- Raising the general scientific level and enhancing the skills of logical analysis and creative thinking among Syrian children and adolescents by teaching them the scripting and graphical programming languages.
- Providing programming training for children and adolescents in a manner that reflects positively on their participation and performance in the Scientific Olympiad.
- Developing fluency in dealing with Information Technology.
- Providing useful and open Arabic scientific content related to programming and informatics in support of computer science teaching in school.
- Raising the level of students' knowledge and skills through participating in international competitions, and fostering the distinguished in this field.
The importance of the programming Marathon for Children and youths
In recognition of the role of early learning of the skills of analysis and reasoning in children and adolescents, and to enhance the idea of teamwork and the spirit of competition and the organization of their teams; in order to prepare a generation that keeps up with the technology development and contributes to finding solutions that serve reality in the different sectors. Therefore, the Centre for training and lifelong learning at the University is organizing annually the Marathon of Programming for children and youths based on the social, scientific and academic message of the university and a contribution on its side in preparing the future generation in Syria.
Rules for participation in the programming marathon for children and youths:
- Participants in the preparatory course for the programming marathon for children and youths are accepted on the basis of a level-setting test where participants are divided into age groups and into several levels (beginners, intermediate and advanced).
- Appropriate training is provided on the various software technologies and the logical thinking mechanisms for each age group of children and youths and with the supervision of a number of academically competent trainers who are able to deal with this segment. Pre-tests are carried out for the participants through the approved test systems at the virtual university and within the supervision standards adopted by the virtual university. The candidates are selected to participate in the marathon according to specific criteria to be announced.
Curriculum in the programming marathon for children and youths:
The program marathon includes the children's competition (8-11 years) and the youth competition (12-15 years). The two competitions aim to test the optimal performance of solving several questions divided into three groups:
- A software question that is shaped as a game, requiring the contestant to implement it using the graphical programming language “Scratch”.
- Questions of logical and Computing thinking,
- C ++ programming questions, taking into account the complexity of each age group.
A contestant who can perform the bigger number of required tasks in the right and correct form of software wins and in a way that deepens logical reasoning skills and problem solving and enhances the role of the contestant as a solution designer.