In her new book “No Fear Coding” author and educator, Heidi Williams, makes a plea that coding should be taught at a young age. How young? Try kindergarten. The skills required to code can be taught as young as kindergarten, in some cases before that. But what about creating apps?
Boulder startup bitsbox has created a subscription delivery model that teaches kids to code and create apps all at the same time.
Every month, families get a bitsbox delivered to their door. It’s a new project every month. The subscriptions cost as little as $20 per month and the service starts with “Animal House” Coordinates and Simple Commands and continues on to more advanced kits as the time goes on.
The process is simple. When the bitsbox arrives in the mail, kids aged 6 to 14 look through the monthly book to see what apps are available to build. Once they find the app they want to work on they type the code from the materials into the bitsbox website. Then they can create the app and make it their own. Once completed the bitsbox app can be shared to any device so that mom, dad, family and friends can enjoy the app as well.
Bitsbox was created by co-founder Scott Lininger. He seems to be about the same age as me as Techcrunch reports, that he learned to code using a Radio Shack TRS-80. The book the TRS-80 came with had a couple easy programs inside. You could make your name or any line of text go infinitely across the screen in a vertical line.
Rest assured bitsbox is much more complex and a heck of a lot more fun. The company started in 2014 and did a Kickstarter campaign to launch where nearly 3,000 backers brought it to life with $253,696 dollars.
Now, nearly a million kids have built apps using the bitsbox platform. Their young users are split just about down the middle as far as girls and boys go. They hail from over 60 different countries. Very little supervision is necessary.
“We developed Bitsbox for kids as young as six. With younger kids (first through third grades), it’s helpful to have an adult close by, but older kids can build apps entirely on their own. No previous programming experience is needed.” the company says.
bitsbox is now offering their kits in the classroom to help teach kids to code and drive home STEM initiatives.
You can check out bitsbox in person at ISTE 2017 at the Startup Pavilion, booth 2312 and online at bitsbox.com