A Toy for Toddlers Doubles as Code Bootcamp

From the NY Times article:

It took a tentative step forward, turned to the left, took another step and then came to rest under a tree — at least, a drawing of one.

Cubetto does not actually walk, but the smiling wooden robot does wheel around under its own power, along a course charted by the human behind the machine.

With a $225 price tag, it is an expensive vehicle for play. Although a remote-controlled car may have been simpler, and cheaper, there was a purpose to the exercise: teaching children as young as 3 the basics of computer programming and developing technological and critical thinking skills.

As parents increasingly grow eager to give their children an edge in technology skills by getting them to think like a computer early, start-ups and entrepreneurs see potential in creating toys with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics — popularly referred to as STEM.

 

Apple Offers Free App to Teach Children Coding

It’s happening, folks.  From the NY Times article:

Apple plans to release a free coding education app on Tuesday that it developed with middle-school students in mind, in the latest salvo among technology companies to gain share in the education market and to nurture early product loyalty among children.

Apple’s app, called Swift Playgrounds, introduces basic computer programming concepts, like sequencing logic, by asking students to use word commands to move cartoon avatars through a fanciful, animated world. Unlike some children’s apps, which employ drag-and-drop blocks to teach coding, the Apple program uses Swift, a professional programming language that the company introduced in 2014.

Can ‘Minecraft’ Really Change the Way Teachers Teach?

From the Motherboard post:

“Not every teacher is going to have the creativity to create good lesson plans that incorporate Minecraft, either. That’s where education.minecraft.net plays a role. While it’s somewhat limited right now, the website already has a host of resources including lesson plans educators can use. Eventually, Quarnstrom told me that the website will be a hub for the community to share and vote on lesson plans, creating an endless resource for teachers who might lack an intimate enough understanding of Minecraft to develop their own.”