Children and Computer Science

I have a four-year-old brother.

His name is Jacob. He’s smart — honestly remembers details about the world that I couldn’t begin to recall (“Sean-y, you like wearing black-socks,” upon seeing my choice of foot garment, and hearing me say that six months before).

And, obviousbly, he’s adorable.

It is for all of those reasons that I’m forced to find myself consistently thinking about how computer science will play into his future.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, there’s a movement of entrepreneurs that are trying to take advantage of nervous parents (and big, big brothers like myself) hellbent on preparing kids for tech careers.

Play-i, of Mountain View, Calif., for instance.

From (my favorite) IEEE Spectrum:

Yana and Bo play hide-and-seek.

These colorful robots are not only fun to play with—they can teach kids computer programming skills. That’s what Play-i, a Silicon Valley startup founded by engineers from Google, Apple, and Symantec, says about its robots, unveiled this week as part of a crowdsourcing campaign.

The idea of using robots to teach kids programming, math concepts, and problem solving is not new. In fact, it’s been more than 40 years since MIT educator Seymour Papert demonstrated the possibilities of hands-on learning with his Logo programming language and mobile machines known as “turtle robots.”

 

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