Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bootstrap World: video games, math, and programming

Spanish or Programming? In the not too distant future this could be a common decision families will have to make when deciding what "language" their child should start learning in school. My reasoning for this outlook is currently there are billions of people whose personal and professional lives are enhanced by the power of code. For instance, imagine a typical morning in a U.S. home. The family gets up and starts the automated coffee machine, one of the kids open up his phone and checks his Twitter app, someone leaves the refrigerator open and a warning alarm sounds, and when the kids are on the way to school the car automatically senses increased rain outside and modifies the wiper speed. This is the tip of the iceberg in describing how programming impacts our world. If you look at industry today companies across the globe are utilizing software programs to develop website, analyze data, and much more. As the digital age matures the power of computing will unlock new opportunities (e.g. big data, robotics, smart products, nano-tech, etc.) for solving local and global problems.

In the education arena there is a good amount of resources for teachers to incorporate in their instruction. One resource that has popped up on my radar a lot is Bootstrap World. The goal of this organization is to inspire kids to learn about mathematics and computer science through video game design. They provide free curriculum, software tools, and they have several strong partnerships (e.g. Hour of Code, NYC computer science project, and Citizen Schools) to provide schools with training and extracurricular activities.