By Reyne Rice, Trend Analyst and Trend Reporter, New York, USA
First posted on the YourToyCom.com blog forum and community website serving the toys, games and childrens’ technology industries, on behalf of the Spielwarenmesse. Spielwarenmesse is the leading and largest International ToyFair in the world, held annually in Nuremberg, Germany in early February.
This week celebrates computer science across the globe, and introduces simple coding tools to children, to inspire and to challenge them. Code.org has organized an enormous effort across 168 countries to teach kids about coding, using simple building blocks of drag and drop code. Modules have been built, using the Angry Birds characters as examples to appeal to today’s kids, using relevant characters. Educators around the world are enthusiastic about sharing these tools with today’s kids. Just look at these stats:
Top line stats for the Hour of Code (as of Dec 10, 2013)
- 38,141 organizers plan to host “Hour of Code”
- for 4,870,112 students,
- across 168 countries.
- Of these, 12,734 are organizing for their entire school to participate.
- Go to http://csedweek.org/events to see the map of participating countries.
Why is this so important? In the USA alone, there will be a shortage of nearly 1 million coders, by the year 2020, if the number of students who know how to code doesn’t change. Other countries will also face similar occupation shortfalls in coming years. Teaching kids about coding can be a simple process, using the unique drag and drop tools available today, through a variety of sources. Here are just a few.
- Code.org, the sponsors of this worldwide series of events has tools and curriculum for teachers.
- Scratch 2 programming is available online and developed by the MIT Lab at Cambridge Massachuseets Institute of Technology. It was designed specifically to make building programs easy and understandable for children in middle school.
- HopScotch programming apps for the iPad, also bring this science to kids in a touchscreen application, making it even more hands on and intuitive for children to learn.
- Also, see my blog from October 22, entitled A New Quiet Revolution is Evolving, Teaching Kids about Programming and Computer Science, for more resources and tools.
These are just a few of the available programs to teach kids how to use coding to perform simple tasks and to make their projects come to life with animations and actions they have control over selecting. In Europe, similar programs are being investigated through the T.I.E, the Toy Industries of Europe, and organizations with the same goals and objectives, for making learning relevant for children and providing tools for educators, to bring these core concepts to life.
This is just one example of how schools and educators are using relevant, hands on experiences for children, to teach them Life Skills that they can put to use immediately.
I can imagine that children will be excited with the results they experience by using these tools, and it will build self esteem and confidence they will want to replicate, by continuing to design their own experiments. This is the pay it forward impact that can happen when we can make learning relevant with real life trial and error, cause and effect examples.
There are many products in the marketplace this year, and being introduced in 2014 that will also allow children to test these boundaries, and learn about science, technology, engineering, robotics and computer science. At Spielwarenmesse 2014, we will reveal these products, once they are lifted from embargo. Stay tuned for a wealth of learning products, toys and games that will inspire and grow our next generation of explorers, creators, engineers and scientists!