Celebrating 50 Years of Teaching Kids to Code

Celebrating 50 Years of Teaching Kids to Code

Categorized under: computer science education for kids

As part of the interactive doodle, Google worked with a few internal teams along with an external partner, MIT who developed the very popular Scratch language.

The Google doodle which uses a rabbit as a character seeks to emulate the turtle that was used in logo to teach kids one of the fundamental truths of programming – learning how to make the computer follow the instructions it has been given. The team accomplishes this through a series of challenges:

1.       Getting comfortable with moving the rabbit character forward

2.       Getting familiar with making the rabbit character turn left/right

3.       Utilizing loops to make the programming more efficient by repeating key lines/blocks of code

Once this baseline is established, the team brilliantly implements challenges that require the users to demonstrate learning by moving the rabbit character through an increasing complex maze. 

Another key feature of this doodle and Logo is that because it utilizes movement, programmers are able to envision how the rabbit or turtle might move before they write their lines of code.

In addition, the Google doodle offers up an incentive to programming the movement as efficiently as possible by awarding an additional badge if you use the smallest number of blocks as possible which is quite remarkable in an introductory activity.

Projects like the Google doodle, Logo, Scratch along with all the other programming languages are an awesome way to get kids curious about how to build with technology. As they begin to understand the basics, they can begin to build upon those fundamentals to create increasingly complex projects that leverage their initial learnings.

Hats off to the pioneers (Seymour Papert) along with the modern day evangelists (Mitch Resnick) who continue to introduce and evangelize solutions to teach kids how to build the hardware and software solutions they interact with on a daily basis.

About the Author: Omowale Casselle is the Co-Founder & CEO of Digital Adventures.