How three designers are teaching toddlers to code

Image courtesy of VentureBeat/Image courtesy of VentureBeat - The founders of My First Website say that kids as young as 3 are already addicted to the site.

Most parents will recall the moment with pride when their kids master a ‘first’: their first steps, first sentence, and these days, first website.

Confident that toddlers can learn to code, three female entrepreneurs have developed a website and interactive book called My First Website. The e-book is available for €5.99, and works on smartphones, iPads and desktop PCs.

“We owe it to our children to be able to teach them to understand code in a world where almost everything that they interact with on a daily basis will have some foundation in coding,” said My First Website’s cofounder Rosalyn Knapp.

The founders, Sanna Nilsson, Lovisa Levin and Knapp, had the idea for the e-book when living in the small town of Vasatan in Sweden, and studying complex coding languages at a design school called Hyper Island.

They frequently discussed how in the digital age, kids are increasingly expected to be fluent in variety of languages. It’s not just foreign languages like Spanish and Chinese, but the computer vernacular.

“Our national competitiveness depends upon our ability to educate our children – and that includes our girls – in this critical field,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently quipped in an interview with Code.org, a nonprofit dedicated to computer education.

However, most countries are falling behind when it comes to tech literacy (with the notable exception of Estonia), so parents are faced with the task of ensuring their kids can compete in the digital economy.

This isn’t an easy task for parents who haven’t mastered the basics of HTML.

The founders of My First Website say that kids as young as 3 are already addicted to the site, and if you don’t believe them, just hand any five-year-old an iPad. But it’s also proven to be valuable for parents who are learning alongside their children.

My First Website focuses on HTML as it’s a bit like Latin. Cofounder Nilsson said she realized that most coding languages have their roots in HTML, so it’s the ideal starting-point.

“We believe that learning to code should be as essential as any or the subjects in the curriculums across schools,” said Nilsson.

Copyright 2013, VentureBeat

 
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