ScratchJr, a free iPad application that teaches five- to seven-year-olds how to program and was developed through a collaboration between the Tufts Developmental Technologies (DevTech) Research Group, MIT Media Lab and the Playful Invention Company, was released to the public this July. An Android version of the app is expected to be released in 2014, followed by a web-based version in 2015.
Marina Umaschi Bers, a professor in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development and an adjunct computer science professor, has been designing kid-friendly programming tools as the director of DevTech for the last six years. Bers said that the original idea for ScratchJr came from another of DevTech’s initiatives, Kids Invent with Imagination (KIWI), which is a robotics project designed for children to understand computer science using familiar objects: wooden blocks.
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