- Researchers at Tufts University have created ScratchJr, a free app that teaches basic coding skills to students as young as five years old.
- Using the app, kindergartners can string together chunks of code, allowing them to alter characters and shapes — and ultimately build their own digital stories.
- The team behind ScratchJr. received $1.3 million in funding from the National Science Foundation.
Introducing coding to younger students is important because as students get older, they develop beliefs about their math and science abilities that may influence both their desire to learn as well as their impression that they will even be good at coding.
As ScratchJr co-founder Marina Umaschi Bers told the Associated Press, "most programs that introduce coding in fourth grade and up, it’s great, but they are coming kind of late to the party.”
So far the app is only available for the iPad, but the developers are working to create Android and Web-compatible versions.