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Tynker introduces your kids to programming code either at home or at school

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August 9, 2013

Tynker for Home 16 week programming course for kids

Tynker for Home 16 week programming course for kids

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The skills involved in programming are in many ways a lesson in life. Coding requires both logical and creative thinking which in turn lead to a greater ability to solve problems. Technology is shaping our world and our future and understanding computers and coding is a great way to engage with that future. Tynker, a California based education company, aims to teach your kids programming using a visual platform and is targeting 8 to 14 year olds with a 16 week course that promises both fun and learning.

With $3.45 million in funds raised from angel and institutional investors, Tynker for Schools was launched in April this year and was followed by Tynker for Home within a couple of months. Teachers and parents alike share our vision of enabling children to learn programming so they can become makers for the digital age,” said Krishna Vedati, cofounder and CEO of Tynker, “Since launching Tynker for Schools to unprecedented demand, the most common request from students and parents was for a version of Tynker that could be accessed at home. So we significantly advanced our release schedule and are introducing Tynker for Home so kids can begin discovering and learning programming skills in their own homes and share their pursuits in real-time with their parents.”

Vedati’s mission with Tynker is to give kids a foundation in understanding the fundamentals in coding before teaching them to script. According to an earlier interview given to TechCrunch, he came up with the plan after his son returned from a coding camp at Stanford where he had learned how to code a flash-based game without being made to understand any of the whys and wherefores behind his creation.

Having achieved significant uptake and positive feedback from both parents and teachers with Tynker for Schools, and seeing kids forming their own coding groups to learn and have fun with his program outside of school hours, Vedati contacted Dave McFarland, well known for his Javascript and CSS programming books, to create a home-based version of Tynker. Together they formulated the Introduction to Programming course comprising of 16 weeks of tutorials covering programming basics, though with a clear focus on games and interactive media. Tutorials include “playing sounds,” “moving characters,” “animation,” “handling keyboard and mouse events,” “collision detection,” and “keeping score.”

Tynker is similar to the visual programming language and multimedia authoring tool Scratch developed at MIT in 2003. It is also possible to import Scratch projects into Tynker. Like Scratch, Tynker provides a child friendly Graphical User Interface (GUI) and is browser-based not requiring any downloads. It is therefore tablet friendly, essential in this day and age as kids spurn laptops and PCs for handheld computing and more schools introduce “bring your own device” schemes into classrooms.

Referencing information on Code.org, only 10 percent of schools in USA have computer programming as part of their curriculum and across the States only 2 percent of college students graduate with computer science degrees. They are predicting a shortfall of a million programmers over the next 10 years.

In my opinion, computer coding should be a second language taught in every school around the world. In my day we took Latin or German because it was considered that learning these languages not only gave you cultural knowledge but also helped you to structure your thinking. The situation has changed over the past 50 years and schools need to adapt.

Organizations and companies like Tynker, Terrapin Software, Lego Education Academy, Treehouse, Codecademy, Gamestar Mechanic and languages like Snap! and the aforementioned Scratch are making inroads to improve the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math skills of today’s youth and prepare them for modern day living. Keeping up with these new developments certainly seems the smart thing to do for parents and teachers alike.

Sources: Tynker, Code.org, TechCrunch

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6 Comments

Or you could just get them a book on JavaScript, and use the text editor and web browser they already have on their computer. Plus, they might actually use JavaScript for something.

Jon A.
9th August, 2013 @ 09:02 am PDT

Most programming work has been offshored, and Americans are not allowed to compete for work on a global basis, so the purpose of creating a generation of American programmers is not clear. Wouldn't they be better off with a riding lawn mower?

Eddie
9th August, 2013 @ 12:02 pm PDT

this reminds me of when i tried asking my high school computer teacher how the internet worked. she said you click on the button that says internet then type in the web page you want to go to; if that doesn't work unplug the router and plug it back in and if that doesn't work just send it to get fixed.

after an hour I wasn't able to make my question more clear and she clearly wasn't able to expand on her answer. when i got home i looked my question up again and i was able to find out not just that computers were connected to each other to share information which is what the internet is but also how the connection worked both with and without wireless connections. i learned about my computers place in the internet and how i could make my own internet which would technically be called an intranet.

I wish my high school computer teacher had been able to teach me more than typing skills and how to use Microsoft office but her knowledge of computers was limited to "push the button that says internet".

Ariel Gonzalez
11th August, 2013 @ 12:45 pm PDT

Eddie, the US will need 4.5 Million programmers during the next 5 years... next question?

Sergio Espinosa Rivera
12th August, 2013 @ 12:52 am PDT

Making learning fun will get more people interested in learning more on their own, My first computer was an Amiga which had an easy learning curve, if I had started with DOS I wouldn't have stuck with it very long I'm afraid. Without programmers computers are nothing, with them the whole world is open to explore. The Curiosity Rover on Mars is a good example of why programmers are important.

Johnboy
12th August, 2013 @ 01:32 pm PDT

Well I agree because I am 12 I started programming at 9 I loved computers since I was 4 and I started making websites and trust me it's a great skill to have

Pelanyo Geraldo Kamara
12th August, 2013 @ 04:18 pm PDT
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