Story by Adam Ebel
Technology, especially digital technology, seems to be taking greater precedence in our daily lives than ever before.
This is the premise of
code.org’s initiative to offer programs and lessons in computer science and programming languages to younger children often through age friendly games.
“Karel the Dog” is an example. Students must “command” a dog to reach a specific location using commands that happen to resemeble script commands.
Upon opening a website, quotes from entrepreneurs and leaders gleam laud the merits of coding as a skill set.
Entrepreneur Dan Shapiro wants to go a bit further, by offering preschoolers the opportunity to learn coding through a board game called “Robot Turtles.”
He proposed a simple kick starter to distribute the game, which tasked children with guiding a turtle to a gem using a series of simple commands.
Through a simple combination of cards and board strategy, children 3 through 8 unwittingly use the same concepts fundamental to most programming languages.
The kick starter has already generated 18 times its original goal of $25,000. Parents are not the only ones who are grabbing on to the trend.
Shapiro has received multiple requests to make similar games for older audiences.
Programming is in demand for an easy-to-approach introduction to basic computer science.
For many, this is common sense.
After all, in an industry dominated by tech firms and software engineers, it certainly grants an advantage few other skills can match.
“It’s more useful than cursive,” said Caleb Swehla, a first-year information systems major.
Regardless of its career utility, coding can be a hobby worthy of respect.
“Programming helps to teach people to think critically and is a healthy hobby,” Dan Guenet, a first-year, said.
The primary discrepancy for many is the young age. Shouldn’t preschoolers play outside?
Many are already disturbed by how prevalent digital information and computers are today, and they think that teaching coding so early is questionable.
“Middle school at the earliest” Ethan Parafink, a first-year, said.
Even the creator of the board game “Robot Turtles” admitted his twins “spend more time in front of the screen” than he would like.
Some, such as first-year Ryan Skajewski, find computers overrated in their usefulness.
“I don’t even know what coding is, ˆand I’ve gotten by fine,” Skajewski said.
He said it opens up a much larger issue about what role computers should have in education and childhood.
Regardless, the popularity of the idea, much like the newest operating systems and apps, is spreading quickly.