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The month of May saw VIVITA's first ever online Lego competition which brought together a total of 51 participants. But what made this pioneering effort truly remarkable was that it was birthed, organized and executed by our 10 year-old member, Nathaniel.

International Lego Competition

The article below is a reflection of the journey by our crew members Abel and Puspita, who worked closely with our member Nathaniel on pulling this off during the COVID-19 lockdown/circuit breaker period!

Working with Nathaniel

Nathaniel deserves a standing ovation for all the hard work he poured out from beginning to end. He did almost everything, from preparation before the launch day, hosting weekly sessions confidently, and emailing all the participants and winners after the competition. Our roles were to support Nathaniel in the area of admin, logistics, facilitation, engagement, technical support during the sessions. We would also like to appreciate Nathaniel’s parents as sponsors for providing prizes for the weekly and grand prize winners. The ease in which Nathaniel hosted and ran each of the eight sessions speaks of his charisma and stage presence. It's quite a sight to see Nate in his element on the many occasions where he had to troubleshoot on the fly and think on his feet. And we do think Nate really enjoyed and thrived in those occasions. One of the fondest moments we had of Nathaniel was when we were delegated to a breakout room to handle technical issues some participants were facing using the FlipGrid app while he handled other technical issues in the main room. We don't think that many kids have the confidence and esteem to see themselves as an equal when working with adults, what more delegate tasks to them.

Platforms and Mechanisms used in the competition

The objective of the competition was to gain the most points in the span of the 4 week long competition. Participants were given a few challenges each week, and each challenge required participants to upload a video of their creations on the Flipgrid platform. And at the end of each session participants would watch what the videos made by the other contestants and choose another participant's creation that they felt deserved their vote. Points were earned through a simple voting system; the more votes your creation got, the more points you get.

The adoption of the Flipgrid platform from the participants was well received. It could be observed that participants were comfortable and enjoyed showing off and talking about their creations in the videos they uploaded. This is no surprise since kids these days are exposed to TikTok videos , IG stories, etc. The use of Flipgrid had its share of technical issues regarding the uploading of videos which stemmed more from the lack of familiarity with the interface of the platform. One thing we felt that the Flipgrid platform lacked was the ability to like or comment on videos uploaded. If such features were present, the voting that was done each week would have been a smoother process and eliminated the need to prepare weekly voting google forms.

Concluding Thoughts

The adoption of the Flipgrid platform from the participants was well received. It could be observed that participants were comfortable and enjoyed showing off and talking about their creations in the videos they uploaded. This is no surprise since kids these days are exposed to TikTok videos , IG stories, etc. The use of Flipgrid had its share of technical issues regarding the uploading of videos which stemmed more from the lack of familiarity with the interface of the platform. One thing I felt that the Flipgrid platform lacked was the ability to like or comment on videos uploaded. If such features were present, the voting that was done each week would have been a smoother process and eliminated the need to prepare weekly voting google forms.

Every week while waiting for all participants to come into the Zoom meeting, we had short chit chat about anything under the sun to get to know each other. Nathaniel then presented the agenda for the afternoon with confidence. We were amazed by his presentation and management skills throughout the session. He patiently waited for each participant to be ready and instructed them what to do when there were doubts, for example how to vote or record their video in Flipgrid in their individual Zoom breakout room.

LEGO is a common language and has a special place in every child’s heart. But beyond the colorful bricks, play and fun time spent each week, the children learnt through play and meaningful social interaction. This cultivates creative thinking and unique learning experiences. The open-ended weekly challenges create hundreds of possibilities of creation out of their wild magination in spite of time constraints. Flipgrid application is part of the fun factor during the competition. It gives children the stage to express their thoughts and ideas about their creation. Meanwhile, they also learn from their peers as every individual creatively expresses their unique designs.

Even though all the fun things must come to an end, Nathaniel took the time to email and thank every participant and made everyone special handcrafted keychains!

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