Friday, May 31, 2013


What happens when kids learn how to code?  Here are a few examples:

Zora Ball, a first grader in Pennsylvania, learned to code in an after school program and created a video game called Vampire Diamonds using a programming language called Racket.  The object of the game is to get the diamond and avoid the vampire.  Her teacher, Tariq Al-Nasir describes her achievement this way: “The real magic is seeing young children who have no coding skills pick up the language.  Once you explain it to them, I think you will see a tsunami of Zora Balls.”

Shane Curran is a 13-year old self taught coder/entrepreneur who created Libramatic, a smart phone and cloud-based library management system, because he felt the librarians at his school didn’t have the tools they needed to do their jobs.   “Without CoderDojo,” he says in a Forbes article,  “it would have taken twice as long to learn coding properly.”    Short video

James Whelton -- the Irish teenager who founded the international CoderDojo movement -- taught himself to code for fun, to build apps and games.  But at age 14, his skill helped save a life.  His neighbor's nephew had been diagnosed with a tumor behind his eye, and the scan needed to be seen that day by specialists in the U.S -- impossible with the inferior broadband of the time   Whelton quickly put together code that allowed the doctors to view the scan over the Internet, enabling them to make a correct diagnosis and save the child's life. 

Brittany Wegner:  at age 13, Wegner taught herself to code.  At age 17, she programmed a neural network (an artifical intelligence program) that makes diagnosis of breast cancer less expensive, less invasive and much more accurate.  Her program aggregates the results from fine-needle biopsies to create a diagnosis more accurate than traditional (and much more invasive) surgical biopsies.  Here's her engaging and inspiring TED talk.

What if more kids (and adults) knew how to code?

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