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Should 3-Year-Olds Learn Computer Programming?

Scratch Jr hopes to teach preschoolers enough coding that they can design their own video games.


Can 3-year-olds learn enough computer programming to be able to build their own games or animate a story? That's the theory behind Scratch Jr, an MIT project set to launch this summer that wants to teach preschoolers creativity, design thinking, and problem-solving through coding.

The project is an extension of Scratch, a downloadable programming tool that's been available since 1998. Through Scratch, 8- to 13-year-old students from around the world have created and shared more than 2.3 million "interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art" projects. A grant from the National Foundation of Science will allow Scratch Jr to bring those learning benefits to younger students.

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'Code Year' Promises to Teach You Computer Programming in 2012

The website's founders promise that you can start building your own game within a month.


Is it possible to learn the basics of computer programming in one year? That's the hope of the more than 281,000 (and counting) people who have signed up to participate in Code Year, a New Year's resolution challenge that promises to teach users enough code to build their own apps and websites by the end of 2012.

The effort is a project of Codecademy, a New York City-based startup launched last August by two young tech gurus, Zach Sims and Ryan Bubinski. With demand for STEM professionals outpacing supply, the duo believe basic programming skills are as essential to 21st-century life as being literate. But in a world where tech-savvy people are deemed nerds, it's not easy to convince the average person they can learn programming.

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Harvard's Chief Information Officer Is Preparing for the Next Zuckerberg

She's "absolutely convinced" the next tech tycoon is on campus right now, and wants to make sure the school provides support.

Can universities intentionally produce innovative tech entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg? Harvard, where Zuckerberg famously developed Facebook before dropping out, is certainly going to try. In 2010 they hired chief information officer, Anne Margulies, who's been busy coordinating the entire university's technology efforts and ensuring they support student innovation. She says the school is "absolutely convinced" that "the next Zuckerberg is here right now."

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