Last month I handed my 5-year old a brightly colored robot for kids (created by Make Wonder– https://www.makewonder.com)
and an iPad. I didn’t have time to begin to explain how the app worked because immediately she said, “What happens if I do this, will he (and yes, we talked about why she immediately decided her robot was male) move that way?” and then “Yes! I knew it.” She arranged her toys as an obstacle course and tried to get the robot to maneuver though, and somehow during this game adopted If/Else statements (for example, If I push the top button the robot should say “hi” and start the obstacle course, otherwise/else, if I clap, the robot moos like a cow). And I thought about the push to get girls into computer science. But mostly I thought- look how much fun she’s having, look how complex her thinking can be. It’s a game- a big brightly colored doll she’s named and is controlling with an iPad. Look how much she’s learning.
And I wondered, how are we preparing the students we’re sending to work in daycare centers (coincidentally, a current Hostos student works at my daughter’s Washington Heights daycare) and teach in pre-k classes, to get these youngest kids, especially girls, excited about computer programming? And then I marveled at the question and at the new educational technology at our fingertips, because my kid who was only fully potty-trained 18-months ago just constructed a do-while loop. I can’t wait until she can read. I’ve got scratch (https://scratch.mit.edu) bookmarked for next year.