No, our invention couldn’t be another app, or an app-enabled robot for that matter.
Coding should be introduced alongside reading or arithmetic, starting at pre-school level, but the process should be age-appropriate, and fun! We looked like salmon, swimming against the tide. Teaching computer programming principles without using a screen device sounded silly. Especially to an investor. But it can be done!
Luckily for us, both parents and educators in our community really loved the notion of teaching children coding while reducing screen time. FastCompany gave a very good (and flattering) explanation of exactly how Cubetto teaches programming to children without screens. I was then invited by EdSurge to write about the benefits of hands-on versus screen learning in early years. But on to education…
We didn’t want Cubetto to only work in American classrooms, or Chinese classrooms, or Russian classrooms. We wanted Cubetto to work in all classrooms! A program is a sequence of unambiguous instructions that accomplishes a task. In our case, the instructions are blocks, and the task is getting Cubetto to his destination. Making Cubetto universal meant removing reading from the equation. It had to introduce concepts like the queue, functions, and debugging, without text.
Making the product work without screen devices turned out to be the smartest silly idea we ever had. It didn’t just reduce screen time at home, but also prep time in the classroom.
Our next challenge? People. It was people, or lack thereof, that almost broke us, and it was people that built us back up…
From meeting HRH Prince Andrew (in the picture above), to Randi Zuckerberg (Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, Zuckerberg Media founder and one of our investors and supporters), this is where things get interesting. Come back for the final instalment of the Primo Toys story next week.