Why HMTL5, CSS & Java Script are great introductory languages for c2pKids?

Image credit: GitHub

Image credit: GitHub

From a humble start last week to an overwhelming response from ten’s of parent’s from schools across Charlotte area & from ones outside of Charlotte  –thanks to power of social media and internet. And thanks to all those parents and friends who called me last week with words of encouragement & connecting with interests in creating “technology producer kids”.

A common question I am being asked is why these 3 languages to begin with for kids of age group 10-15 yrs, will these languages be intellectually intense for younger kids and are they really as fun as learning Sctarch ( or some other equivalents)?

I will try to answer some of these questions via this post.

2-3 decades ago: Era of making your PC do something fun for you.
Kids from 2-3 decades ago would have started with languages such as Fortan, Pascal , Basic or yet more intense C/C++. I started with Pascal then moved on C/C++ and later Visual Basic. Until I moved to Visual Basic, programming was hardly fun. And I could hardly appreciate writing math programs that took so long to write that I would not get the intuition of why make my computer do that instead of using my calculator. Visual Basic was visual and it kicked in my interest quotient higher. Its only after much later I realized that learning those non-fun languages developed my logic and skills to understand how to make computer do much more advanced stuff. But all in all 2-3 decades ago–it was about programming that isolated PC in front of you. The journey from learning to program to one of having fun with programming and finally producing of something value was long one.

Present day:  Era of making Internet & all things (Devices & People) connected to Internet do something fun for you.
Fast forward to present day. We are surrounded by connected and now wearable devices. All of these devices have one thing in common–they understand the triad of HTML5, CSS and Java Script. These languages are fairly simple to get introduced and quickly start to have fun with. There are Java Script libraries to build games, create animations (Disney-grade) & ones to make Google do lots of interesting things for you. So journey from introductory learning to having fun to being a producer of something useful is very fast.

Hope this answers some of parental curiosity–if not then please drop me a note.

TED Weekends: Gaming for life

I have new found appreciation for skills and mental makeup of our Gamer generation kids after watching this TED Talk. The core idea of C2PKids movement after all was about turning “technology consuming kids” into “technology producing kids” by providing them new skills to produce technology for others—games, apps, etc. I did not take into account that they brought some unique mental resilience skills developed as part being avid gamers. Don’t have stats to back up but a large portion of kids technology consumption is all about Games. We carry so much bias around online games playing kids— violence, obesity, sleep disorders etc. This TED talk brings totally different point of views–worth reflecting on.

TED Blog

The old and tired stereotype: a 20-something man sits on the couch in his parent’s basement, his shirt untucked and chin unshaven, as he excitedly pounds the buttons on a video game controller rather than getting a job. The obvious truth: video game enthusiasts are men and women, of all ages, and the grand majority of them are highly productive members of society. In fact, video games can actually help people grow — both socially and psychologically.

This is the idea that video game designer Jane McGonigal addresses in her TED Talk, “The game that can give you 10 extra years of life.” [ted_talkteaser id=1501]In the talk, McGonigal shares her game SuperBetter — designed after being bedridden for a long period of time following a severe concussion — which aims to help people recovering from injuries and surgeries find connection with others and with their inner sense of…

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I lost my soccer ball on Moon

Copyright: wikimedia commons public domain
Img Copyright: Wikimedia commons public domain

This weeks stretch assignment–create a simple Game on Scratch. This game exploits the sound pollution in our house-hold to control the ball lost on moon.

Happy playing…just make sure your device has microphone support and Adobe Flash plugin support in your web browser.

Come join C2PKids Club of Charlotte to get skilled.

“Digital Lemonade”– Next time coach your kids to sell some.

Image Copyright information : Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-2004-0701-502 / CC-BY-SA [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de], via Wikimedia Commons

Image Copyright information : Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-2004-0701-502 / CC-BY-SA [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de], via Wikimedia Commons

Like every summer, I had few sightings of Kids Lemonade Stand this year too. The parental psyche around getting their kids inspired to take up this favorite American summer activity is all too consistent. Parents want their kids to get out and learn some essential entrepreneurial skills by way of selling lemonade. And let’s not underestimate skills learned in this traditional summer activity-it teaches you the essence of all the courses that you might have taken in your pricey Ivy league MBA. Selling lemonade after all requires kids to plan & mobilize their friends into teams, source raw materials cheaply(commodities–sugar, water, limes, cups etc), manufacture and process raw materials into final product, decide on 3 P’s (Product, Price, Place), work on advertising campaign to attract its target consumers and finally endure the scorching heat to execute their plan–end to end and come with some profits. Indeed, one could argue this activity actually teaches life skills of perseverance, working with teams, dealing with failures and enjoying the pleasure of few hard earned bucks.

Now I have no quantitative evidence( and data) to back my claim but I have a simple hypothesis that this summer, we probably had lesser Kids Lemonade Stands compared to last year and in coming years they will become more and more extinct. Verifying my claim could be great Freakonomics project. But my claim is based on the on simple argumentation that this summer Kids had yet more avenues of consuming Digital Lemonade all while sipping real bottled lemonade loaded with high fructose corn syrup.

Realize that our kids are consuming a very addictive form of Digital Lemonade. This Digital Lemonade is delivered to them in very interesting form factors like online games, some silly and some useful mobile apps, Skype Chat or Google Hangout sessions, Vine, SnapChat etc. Parents too were consuming the same Digital Lemonade and had difficulty inspiring the traditional summer activity of teaching kids essential life skills by way of selling lemonade.

So why not we all take cue from this digital consumption behaviors of our kids and try revive this traditional idea in decline–but with a new spin. Like real lemonade stand, Digital Lemonade requires same planning, team and execution skill sets. Your AppStore is stand for your Digital Lemonade. You still need to think of 3P’s but very differently–Place becomes Internet, Product becomes anything that can entertain, educate, inform or add any other commercial/community value and Price becomes free but you may earn money from ad clicks. Selling Digital Lemonade will still need socialization strategy via social platforms versus traditional advertising strategy. Raw materials needed for Digital Lemonade as commodity as raw materials of needed for making real lemonade. Almost all offerings from AWS compute and storage services has free tier & can allow for your kids Digital Lemonade shop run for free. You need man-power? that’s available for cheap or free price too–just go to Amazon Mechanical Turk or other Crowd-sourcing platforms.

In short, selling Digital Lemonade is wiser idea and it teaches all the skills that selling real lemonade teaches and goes beyond to teach real skills needed for finding place in, surviving & thriving in digital economy.

Want to teach your kids how to sell Digital Lemonade ? Come join C2P Kids movement .