While software development has been around for a while now, it usually felt like a pretty specialized field as opposed to a topic that educational institutions felt should be taught to everyone. However times have changed and with technology becoming more integrated in our lives these days, perhaps teaching children programming as a skillset that can be used to earn money in the future does make sense. In fact we’ve seen several initiatives that aim to teach children how to program, and Play-i, a startup between former Google and Apple employees, is another educational tool that can be added to that ever-growing list.
Play-i is essentially a robot that will teach children how to program, and interestingly enough unlike some toys where children will eventually outgrow, the robot will scale its difficulty as the child gets older, or as they complete the different levels, so to speak. According to the company’s founder and CEO, Vikas Gupta, “The focus is on getting very young children to learn programming, and do it in a way that’s a lot of fun, and doesn’t feel challenging or intimidating to the point where they don’t meet their goals.” As to why they chose to use robots instead of an app or some other method, Gupta said, “All the research we’ve read shows that tangible products make those concepts of programming accessible to children in a very concrete way.”
It sounds like a great idea and Play-i has currently exceeded its funding goals by over 70%, so for more information on the device, hit up its website for the details. Play-i is expected to begin shipping in the summer of 2014.