RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL
A programming toolkit for kids aged 0-2
When we were young, everything was fun. Life was easy, and playful. When we grew older, our responsibilities grew too. We were forced to do things we didn't really like. Doing boring jobs, using boring computer software. Spreadsheets, hour-registration software, all very annoying to use. Why? Because we do not really understand how the software works, and we have an aversion to understand it better ("Too technical for me!")
With a world and a social life being increasingly dependent on software-use, this blockade is a seriously impractical situation.
A solution to this contemporary problem can be found by addressing it at a fundamental level:
by letting kids get familiar with software and programming concepts at a very early age,
so that they will associate computers and programming
with terms as play
when they grow older, instead of the terms dull
It is a known fact that the human brain is capable of learning extremely fast at an early age.
Therefore, it would be good to find out what is the earliest age at which kids could start learning 'computerprogramming'.
From a research point of perspective, there's no reason not to begin with the 0-1 years age range.
On that age though, kids aren't yet properly able to use indirect devices such as a mouse or a keyboard to program a script.
A solution to this will be the development of a set of toy-blocks representing a mini programming language in which formations of blocks can form computer programs.
The colors of the blocks will specify syntax meaning and some blocks give output such as a light or sound. Kids learn fast, they love repetition and they are fascinated by items that react as a result of their specific actions.
Ideally, the programming blocks will trigger a 1 year old to program a script like one at the right,
letting the block in the middle flash on and off, indicated by OUTPUT ($A);
APPENDIX: PRELIMINARY SKETCH OF FUNCTIONAL BLOCKS
APPENDIX: SAMPLE 'PROGRAM'
- Context research: talks with parents, scientists, phycologists
- Analysis of hardware options and requirements
- Study on possible programming constructs
- Definition of programming language
- Matching progamming logic to features of blocks: color, sound, vibration or light output
- Programming workshops for kids ages 0-2