This Ethiopian Startup is Gamifying Programming Education To Kids

In times like these where technology took the wheel of the world and bend motions with the advancement that work in accordance, technology literacy becomes important.


As an emerging market like Ethiopia tries to leapfrog its self, the younger generation has a load of weights to carry to transform the country into the future it foresees.


For the kids that are growing to this highly technology-dependent world, it becomes more critical that they are introduced to programming at an early age so that they have the necessary skills for there future.


BeBelocky , an Ethiopian Edutech startup is working towards contributing to this through a gamified app that aims to teach coding to kids between the age of  7-14.


BeBelocky uses a block-based programming language to guide a character in solving different puzzles, helping master the fundamentals of programming in the process.


The app is interactive, fun, and no prior code knowledge needed. It’s fit for a child that’s just starting.


BeBlocky was founded in 2018. It later secured a $25,000 pre-seed funding from The Baobab Network in 2019 by joining the accelerator program.


Nathan Damtew, founder and CEO of BeBlocky tells Shega “ how boring the education system we’ve all gone through is why I’m a strong believer that learning should be something fun.”


Nathan adds “ the only way to put the fun back to the learning equation for kids and everyone else is through gamification. It’s when applying game mechanisms in a non-gaming environment with the objective of enhancing user experience. Game elements are employed to entertain while educating or improving skills and productivity.”


In BeBlocky, kids learn the basics of programming through 80+ challenging levels. Every time a kid finishes each level, it's get rewarded a virtual coin that can be used to buy Blockys. Blockys are game characters inside the app.


Beblocky also uses augmented reality technology to make the experience for kids more engaging.


As Nathan emphasizes the role of Gamification “ There has never been a one-size-fits-all approach to education but the major advantage of gamification is that it can increase engagement and spark motivation.”


One of the feature of the BeBlocky app is the parent's dashboard; which allows parents to look through their child’s progress through the courses, levels completed, concepts learned, and time spent on the app and they can also set screen time for their kids. 


As a startup from Africa, it’s crucial to pioneer in understanding the challenges of the continent. This app did as such, by making requiring no continuous access to the internet, a very relevant inclusive, and addressable feature.


These are one of the main reasons why homegrown startup innovations are of much significance since no one better understands the scarcity and rigorous medium to solve it.


A few weeks ago BeBlocky announced the latest version of their App that includes premium features and additional functionality.


BeBlocky 4.0 that includes upgraded programming concepts, In-app tutorial, AR feature, parental control, and an In-App store. It also features a free subscription for a single user and has subsequent special volume pricing packages for multiple users, starting at $2 per month.


BeBlocky also plans to introduce it's programming learning app into the school environment in partnerships with different EdTech organizations.


BeBlocky started with the aim of teaching Africans to codes at an earlier age to fix the continent’s developers’ shortage; Nathan finally shared with us his aspiration of BeBlocky, “Within the next 3-5 years we’re aiming to reach 10 Million children just from Africa”.


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