Exciting the new generation of technicians with a game

De Ontdekfabriek recently signed a covenant as Partner in Education with Fontys ICT. A foundation that focuses on enthusing children and young people for creativity, technology, and innovation. For this initiative, Fontys ICT students worked on a project called Warehouse Surfers, developing a game that introduces young children to technical concepts in an interactive and playful way.

Warehouse Surfers is designed as an adventure exploration through a virtual warehouse. In the game, players navigate a crate through different parts of the warehouse, encountering various technical challenges and obstacles. Daniël Klaver, one of the students in the project group, says: "The aim is to let children experiment with technology in a playful way while teaching them about logistics processes and problem solving. We are very proud of the result where we conceived, designed, developed, and linked the game from scratch to a Wii Balance Board for interaction. In addition, there is now a nice basis for the next student team, as the game is not yet fully developed."

De Ontdekfabriek is enthusiastic about the result. Hugo Vrijdag, one of the founders, says: "In just under six weeks, the students worked intensively to develop the basis of the game. The project started with a sketch and a concept idea from us. Then this idea was further developed and turned into an interactive environment."

Igino van Haandel, designer and designer at De Ontdekfabriek, adds: "Thanks to storytelling, we give children a story where they then have to think for themselves about solutions within the context of that story. This leads to practical tasks, such as designing a bridge or a flying machine. Through this approach, children learn playfully about technical principles and are encouraged to think creatively and solution-oriented. We therefore see all this clearly reflected in the students' game."

Daniël continues: "What was incredibly instructive was that we were allowed to work on our project on location. Here we came into direct contact with the user; the children themselves. We let them try the game and observed them while gaming. Afterwards, we got valuable input with which we could improve the game again. We also really liked being able to enthuse them about ICT in this way."

Partner in Education

De Ontdekfabriek recently joined Fontys ICT as a Partner in Education. Niek Schmitz, partner coordinator at Fontys ICT, is delighted with this partnership: "Our students work on real assignments for real companies. Interaction is key here: students learn from companies and vice versa. The fact that our students can also act as role models for children during the projects is the icing on the cake. It stimulates involvement and motivation tremendously."

Hugo: "This partnership is very important. Our logo, consisting of two gears containing playing figures, symbolises the cooperation between people with a technical background and young children. Fontys ICT students play a crucial role as role models and inspirers for the children. And vice versa, the students, whom we see as the technicians of the future, help us gain new insights and ideas. Together, we are working towards a future where technology is accessible and exciting for everyone." This vision aligns perfectly with what Fontys ICT is doing. Niek explains: "We ultimately deliver the new generation of ICT professionals. It's great that we complement and strengthen each other in this way."

About De Ontdekfabriek

The activities at De Ontdekfabriek are based on the concept ‘De Uitvinders’. This concept stands for Investigative, Exploratory and Entrepreneurial learning, working on 21st Century Skills and fits within nine core objectives for Primary Education. The De Ontdekfabriek focuses mainly on children aged 4 to 16, but the activities and adventures are widely accessible to everyone. "Everyone can come to De Ontdekfabriek to discover the magic of technology," says Hugo.

Photo: the students and Igino with the result from the Warehouse Surfers project