Code4Kids will unleash the technical creativity of the next generation
To help the next generation maximize their potential for using technology to express their creativity, there are three gaps that need to be filled.
The Access Gap
According to a study from 2015 from the Pew Research Center (link to article), 73% of US housholds have a desktop or laptop, but those percentages are drastically affected by income and education level. For families where the parents never finished high school, that number drops to 29%. For low-income households, ownership sits at 50%.
How much technical and creative talent lies dormant because the talented kids are in households without access to the necessary technology?
We chose to look at ownership of desktop or laptop computers intentionally. While smartphone ownership is greater than desktop or laptop ownership, most smartphones are designed to consume rather than create. If a kid wants to learn how to program computers, they will eventually need access to a desktop or laptop. However, if a child has access to a system like Ozobot Evo (link to product page), they can actually program it from a tablet. This is one of the main reasons we use the Evo in our Summer Code Academy AND why we send kids home with the Evo.
The Knowledge Gap
There are thousands of products available to those with the resources to purchase them, ranging from board games to robots to electronics kits. In addition, everyone who has a desktop or laptop can start programming any time they wish. But how many parents know how to even help their kids get started? Computers don’t have the tools to start programming installed – you have to know what you want, where to get it, how to install it, and how to use it. There are tutorials galore on the Internet, but it takes a lot of work if you’re starting from scratch.
How much technical and creative talent lies dormant because the talented kids need help getting started with their tools?
Code4Kids is trying to help narrow the knowledge gap through our Summer Code Academy, and by presenting parents with a curated list of products and applications that can get their kids started quickly.
The Inspiration Gap
Legos are probably the gold standard of kids creativity toys, right? They can be easily mixed and matched to form new creations, and if you need some help they always come with instructions for cool creations made by the staff at Lego. Kids all over the world can make things happen with Legos.
But have you tried Lego Mindstorms, the robotics-focused Lego line? It has amazing capability, but parents are often left wondering, “now what?” We have seen the same thing happen with electronics kits like Littlebits – after you build the examples, now what?
Computer programming, electronics, and robotics aren’t as easy as Lego blocks. Even if you have access and knowledge you still need ideas about what to make next. Code4Kids believes that necessity is the mother of invention, which means we tend to have ideas once we have a goal or a problem to solve. In addition to using project-based learning in our Summer Code Academy, Code4Kids is working on challenges that will be posted online to help kids start thinking about how to solve the challenge.
The inspiration gap also extends to the realm of the possible. Every minority group other than those of Asian descent is drastically under-represented in computer programming (link to article). In addition, women only represent 18% of the computer programming workforce (link to article), AND that percentage is half of what it was in the early 1980’s.
How much technical and creative talent lies dormant because the talented kids are women or minorities who may not even believe it is possible for them to be computer programmers?
Code4Kids is intentionally reaching out to women and minorities at a young age to help inspire their technical creativity for the rest of their lives.