I have had the pleasure of working with Cardiff-based Dad and former Silicon Valley software developer, Dan Bridge, this week launches his thirty day funding drive on Kickstarter for “Craft Computer Club”, a new product set to revolutionise the way in which computer skills – specifically computational thinking and coding – are taught to primary age children, comprising a colourful craft book with online support resources.
A father of two, Dan acknowledged that tactile engagement with educational materials was critical in successful early
years learning. Rather than develop a passive, screen-based product, he went back to basics, focusing on the things his own children love, teaching modern ideas through traditional methods – scissors, paper and glue. Dan explains:
“I initially developed The Craft Computer Club for my 5 year old daughter, who, like all other children, loves to cut and stick. As friends and family asked if they could use it too, I realised I could be onto something. My aim was to make it easy for anyone to use and I have designed particularly for parents who may not feel technically confident, but want to help children adopt twenty first century skills in a way that doesn’t involve simply sitting in front of a screen.
“As the UK Government launches initiatives and shows a firm commitment to making computational thinking a critical part of our national curriculum, I’m excited by how much this product could achieve. It’s simple, accessible and fun to use. It has a place at every play table.
Through his work as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) ambassador, Dan has piloted the scheme over six weeks with a primary class of twenty girls.
“During the pilot, the girls learnt about the internal components of a computer, making their own models and moving on to games teaching them aspects of computing such how algorithms work and other facets of programming. By the end, they had a fantastic grasp on the workings of a computer, and how they relate to programs and programming.
Why am I supporting this? well these resources are ideal for young children when they are at their most creative. It is the most perfect way to help them develop their computational thinking processes and prepare them for a future that has technology in every aspect of their lives.
If you can support this project, its exactly what is needed.
You can try some of Dan’s activities on his website – http://inpractice.org/microtowns/ada/, these are ideal if you are looking to do something for the Hour of Code with young children.
Hour of Code
To give you to even more incentive to register and take part, end your school name in the registration form with code – Microsoft and your school will be automatically entered into a free prize draw to win and Xbox and Kinect for your school.