December 5, 2017 weblog
Growing up with coding may start with Google Doodle
(Tech Xplore)—The 50th anniversary of children learning how to code was celebrated by Google in a very Google fashion: A new home-page Doodle turned out to be an interactive game for children.
The Google Doodle was designed to teach kids how to code.
Named "Coding for Carrots," you see an easily endearing figure for young children: An eager-to-hop bunny, and you see (of course) carrots. This is an interactive, six-leveled adventure that can show kids something about the world of coding.
With "Coding for Carrots," you program to help a little pal across levels in the effort to gather its food.
As anyone knows who uses Google for search, the home page is frequently turned over to Doodle creatives who render the word with the look that resonates with who or what Google is celebrating—a birthday of a famous person, famous event, or holiday. Special home pages may also involve viewer interactions, where clicking on letters sends you into stories with animations, maybe even a game.
As a result, one can recognize a skill set at Google, the team who create the pages.
Champika Fernando, communications director, Scratch Team, said the bunny-carrot presentation was developed by three teams: the Google Doodle team, Google Blockly team, and researchers from MIT Scratch (a free visual programming language and online community). (Andrew Griffin, The Independent, said Scratch, built for children, contained the fundamental principles "but not scaring them with too much complicated terminology."
Joe Donnelly in PC Gamer talked about the bunny-carrot game in more detail. "'Coding for Carrots' marks Google's first-ever coding doodle, and lets players guide a bunny around six progressively challenging levels collecting carrots. Players must select each movement in turn, dropping directions in-line before playing in sequence. Later stages introduce loops, while players receive in-game medals for ascertaining the shortest solution for each puzzle."
Griffin said that "it uses a very similar technique to Apple's Swift Playgrounds app. In that, children (or adults) also make their way through a 3-D world, navigating it using coding skills."
Wade Sheridan, UPI, said the structure was inspired by Logo, the first coding language designed for kids in the 1960s by Seymour Papert and researchers at MIT.
In the bigger picture, Griffin wrote, "Many tech companies argue that learning to code will be profoundly important in years to come, since so much work is going to involve computers and automation."
Rohan Abraham in The Hindu made two interesting observations, (1) that "polychromatic abacuses and other educational toys are slowly being replaced by their digital counterparts" and (2) the "digital revolution" among children often tends to be equated with time-wasting video games, "but Silicon Valley's apostles of tech believe that to demonise all things digital would be an unfair assessment."
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