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Relaxed and playful access to technology
Kids OpenLab Dornbirn

    Children and parents can experiment and explore together

    Kids OpenLab Dornbirn

    Königsbrunn (Germany), 18th of July 2019. Parents are always looking for suitable offers for their children in oder to avoid boredom. One possibility is the Kids OpenLab in Dornbirn, Austria, which can be visited all year round and offers events. Since last year TUXEDO Computers has been supporting the institution at various events and today presents the Kids OpenLab in more detail.

    Melinda Molnar - Gründerin des Kids OpenLab Dornbirn

    Hello Melinda and thank you very much for answering our questions! You are the founder of the institution and therefore know best: What is the Kids OpenLab and why was it founded?

    The Kids OpenLab offers a relaxed and playful first access to the fascinating world of technology. Together with the parents, we experiment, try out new things, play and explore. In this way, children become conscious and critical designers of the digital world. Our goal is to establish a basic love of learning and experimentation among girls and boys between the ages of 4 up to 11. We help them to experience and understand the science they see every day. The Kids OpenLab is my heart project - I originally wanted a place for creativity and discovery for my children, but without a school setting. Since there wasn't such an institution for this age group at the time and I found other people who were enthusiastic about the idea, we opened Kids OpenLab in April 2018.

    An exciting project and also great when you find more helpers. What is the Kids OpenLab program and what can you offer the kids?

    At the Kids OpenLab in Dornbirn, girls and boys meet to learn and to try things out. Various play stations with STEM experiments are waiting for the kids, which always offer a big wow effect. Because those who work on their own or try their hand at the special learning games in the fields of electrical engineering and coding constantly discover something new. Your own ideas are always welcome! We help the children to realize these ideas. We not only support the children with our know-how, but also get to know new solutions together. The workshops and courses help to deepen the acquired knowledge.

    But there are also real insights into the work of Vorarlberg's high-tech companies: In cooperation with selected companies, we organize so-called researcher excursions. The families also receive information on how to handle the media properly - one of the most important topics of our time. We recently launched the "101 Club" for young, ambitious makers with their own ideas. And since last year we have also been participating in the "First Lego League Junior" with two teams.

    So you're very active! Now parents are probably wondering what benefits their children and the parents themselves have from your institution?

    We point out possibilities and teach skills. We are like "grandpa's garage". The children - but also the parents - discover the creative possibilities of hard- and software and become familiar with "computational thinking" - the ability to solve problems with the help of digital tools and technologies. They learn teamwork and fairness. In addition, the children are given the opportunity to discover new interests and experience their first attempts and successes.

    You've been around a little over a year now. How many members and visitors do you have at the moment?

    Twice a month we welcome about 30-40 children and their companions. We have over 100 members. Although we do not advertise, we always welcome new families. The request is high. However, our growth is limited, as it is not easy to find committed people who support us as mentors on a voluntary and long-term basis.

    Then are you looking for sponsors and how do they help you?

    We are a team of parents and enthusiasts who have stayed young in their hearts and who enjoy discovering new things together with children. We all work voluntarily in our spare time. Our work and the Kids OpenLab depends entirely on sponsors. Every cent we receive is spent on materials and equipment. This makes our program affordable for every interested family. Of course we would be happy to receive further supporters.

    How did you first hear about TUXEDO Computers?

    We met at the Linux Day in Dornbirn. Your open, future-oriented nature and interest in technical support for children has made it possible to get you enthusiastic about Kids OpenLab.

    How do the donations help you and what do you use them for?

    Every additional donation helps us to replenish our stock of consumables, e.g. small electronic parts and handicraft materials. These are things that we use regularly and that children can take home with them and keep. We can also upgrade our equipment park and devices. Donations keep the idea of the Kids OpenLabs alive.

    The Kids OpenLab has just started - what are your goals for the next years?

    One of the goals is to expand the mentoring team to receive more children and respond to requests from educational institutions. We also want to establish a group of permanent annual sponsors to ensure long-term sustainability.

    Kinder können im Kids OpenLab in Dornbirn frei erforschen und experimentieren.

    Many thanks to Melinda Molnar for the interview and we wish her all the best with the Kids OpenLab in Dornbirn!

    Further information, the current program and contact to the founders of the Kids OpenLabs can be found here: https://kidsopenlab.com/