Creativity and Coding: Inspiring Future Innovators
There is a growing community seeking to teach children how to code.
Saxs Persson, Christina Miller, Mimi Ito and Mitchel Resnick are all exactly those type of people. Persson has worked on Minecraft, Miller works for Cartoon Network, Ito works for UC Irvine and Resnick works for the MIT Media Lab.
Miller and Resnick have worked on a project called Scratch, a program intended to teach young people how to code. The project is partnership between MIT and Cartoon Network. Essentially, Cartoon Network allows children to reproduce characters like the Powerpuff Girls under a Creative Commons license while using the tool.
The Creative Commons license teaches children that borrowing and remixing is okay to do.
Resnick said that he wants children to learn through designing and creating structures and interactions, sort of like Legos, except with computer animations.
The goal is to get children ready to solve future problems systematically and collaboratively.
Rensick said he believes that today’s children will face problems that we can’t even imagine.
Interestingly enough, Scratch does not necessarily tell children to that they should learn how to code. The focus seems to be more on storytelling, even though it would be done through coding.
“If you give kids tools, this is what they will do,” Miller said. “They inspire us, and we want to inspire them.”
In Minecraft’s case, formal schools learned quickly that children enjoy playing games like Minecraft, even in an educational setting. Naturally, children that are interested in the tools they are using learn faster.
“It democratizes building so everybody feels involved,” said Perrson. “It’s endless. It’s a game about nothing. Everyone has a different interpretation of what Minecraft is. It’s better together.”