In years past, some coding toys seemed too complex, too boring, too expensive. But this year gives me hope that we’re coming a long way in terms of getting kids excited about STEM skills and coding basics, and giving them plenty of options to find the one that best appeals to them. Here, just a few favorites.
According to some, 2018 will be the year of artificial intelligence and, more specifically, of chatbots. Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa? They’re all examples of chatbots, AKA computer programs designed to help simulate human conversation. In 2017 alone, 35.6 million Americans used some type of voice-activated virtual assistant device at least once a month, according to eMarketer.
Although many such robots are geared toward kids and STEM education, adults with limited coding knowledge can also have fun while learning coding with them. But the difference is that adults aren’t normally in daily classroom settings that teach coding like kids are.
December 4th thru December 10th is Computer Science Education Week. Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in computer science. Originally conceived by the Computing in the Core coalition, Code.org® organizes CSEdWeek as a grassroots campaign supported by 350 partners and 100,000 educators worldwide. CSEdWeek is held in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906).
In the time of engineering games and toys for children, everyone from Kibo, Jewelbots, and even Fisher Price are getting into the action. So which toys are best to introduce your kids to the big world of programming?
NEW Think & Learn Code-a-pillar from Fisher-Price. Toy caterpillar with interchangeable body segments designed to develop coding skills of sequencing and planning, problem solving, and critical thinking among preschoolers.
Aiming to reduce educational barriers, Google partnered with Gallup to research interest in and exposure to computer science in U.S. schools. Their report, Searching for Computer Science: Access and Barriers in U.S. K-12 Education, explores computer science courses in U.S. schools. This information enables policymakers, employers, and educators to adequately instruct students in computer science.
Since 2012, Girls Who Code has grown rapidly. This year there are 1,200 girls in camps across the country. In addition to expanding its footprint in Boston; girls who code added new summer programs in Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark and Washington, DC this summer.
For Avi and students like her across the country who are learning to code in and out of the classroom, how they build is as important as what they build.