Gamify programming skills to 3 year olds

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robotturtlesI wrote earlier this week about schooling and whether schools were equipping children with the right learning skills to survive in the rapidly changing modern economy.  It will be interesting to see what role games play in this process.

I’ve no doubt that countless hours playing Sim City as a boy helped mould my town planning skills no end, not to mention of course my monster unleashing ability.  Suffice to say however, I didn’t begin to learn those skills at the age of three.

That’s the somewhat ambitious goal of a new game called Robot Turtles.  It’s aim is to help teach computer programming skills to pre-schoolers.

The game is currently on Kickstarter seeking funding, but has already massively over-achieved on its goal, seeing $600,000 pledged thus far against a modest goal of just $25,000.

The goal of the game is to get children placing cards in sequence in order to guide the turtle through the maze and towards the jewel.  The children decide which cards to place down, whilst the adult then moves the pieces according to the cards chosen.  It’s designed to replicate the process of a programmer inputting code, thus telling the computer what to do.

The game is engaging for kids be letting them boss around their parents, while also unlocking ‘powerups’ that make the game more challenging as they progress through the puzzle. If they make a mistake, they can ‘debug’ and reprogram their route.

My previous post on the importance of preschool education underlined how valuable it is to enthuse children about learning, and this game may go some way to setting your child on the path to programming, which is a skill in undoubted demand around the world.  Check out the video below for an overview of the game.

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