Bites and Bytes
I am by no means “old” but when I was in grade school computer programming was not something that was taught or even offered as an extracurricular activity, but that didn’t stop me! I had an Apple IIC, a Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer, and eventually an IBM PC. I was equipped with a ton of floppies, a very very slow dial up modem and a noisy dot matrix printer. It really didn’t matter that the baud rate was so slow, because there was NO INTERNET back then (shocking right? ). Instead I used the modem to connect to a BBS (bulletin board system) where I could live chat with friends, play games, and read and leave messages in a forum like format. This was all done in text mainly using a simple ASCII character set.
When I visited ISTE in San Antonio this summer I was instantly brought back to my childhood when I visited Tynker’s kiosk. I was already familiar with Gamestar Mechanic and Scratch, but I hadn’t yet experienced the world of Tynker! When Gino from Tynker gave me a demonstration visions of creating apps, games and more danced in my head! How awesome would it be if I could get my own kids excited about coding their own app or game rather than just playing the “hot app” of the moment?
I was first drawn to its colorful and inviting visual platform (oh I like shiny and colorful things), but in all seriousness what I liked best is the design of the program. Tynker is a web based platform that easily engages kids and teaches them how to code. There is no pressure, because there is no actual code to write. It is all fun! Kids drag and drop visual code blocks to program their own animations, stories, games and more.