• Sweden's news in English
 

Stockholm app makers teach six-year-olds HTML

Published: 21 Feb 2014 15:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Feb 2014 17:28 GMT+01:00

What began as a three-week final project at the digital communications college Hyper Island in Stockholm became a much-praised e-book, in which the character Cody Coder teaches young children to write code. The adventure, however, is far from over.

The three students who invented Cody Coder have now reassembled - after internships at Metro, Spotify, and a New York-based creative agency respectively - and work from central Stockholm at the start-up collective SUP46.

Harried shoppers and tired public servants mill about in the February sludge on the street below as Sanna Nilsson, Lovisa Levin, and Rosalyn Knapp sit down to tell The Local about the upcoming adventures of Cody Coder:

An app that allows children as young as six learn to build a website.

"Anything you do these days will have some kind of coding involved, so why not learn it sooner rather than later?" Knapp says. "Children at a very early age recognize shapes and where to put them, so on the app they will drag snippets of codes into place and they see how the website changes."

"It's all about simplifying code and making it less scary, because it's not," her colleague Lovisa Levin interjects. "This new technical world shouldn't be scary. We're using gamification and drag-and-drop technology, so it makes it fun to learn a hard skill."

Cody Coder guides the children through the entire game, as the small boy explains the mission on each level. The trio say the app is a logical next step from the e-book, which is available in Swedish and English editions, with a Dutch translation due out soon. On the women's website, Cody Coder can be seen gazing up at the night sky - not unlike Saint Exupery's classic childhood tale of The Little Prince - except he wears black Converse and a baseball cap.

Yet those are not constellations lighting up the night sky, they are web nodes.

"We thought 'How can we represent this to kids in order for them to understand what it looks like?'" Nilsson recalls. "The internet is not tangible. So it is kind of abstract because you can't see it. The internet is a world unto itself. Children understand that it's real but you can't touch it."

"He travels to the world of internet. It's a very cute fairy tale," says Knapp.

At the end of the book, Cody Coder's parents ask him if he can teach them about coding too. To which the little boy, who apparently has impeccable manners, responds:

"Of course I can."

The e-book will now also be published in paper form, to allow parents and children to snuggle up and read about coding at bedtime.

"People have wondered why the three of us, who are all young women, used a male character," Nilsson throws into the conversation. "But honestly we never put any thought into it. When we've done focus groups with kids and they haven't cared, but of course we want it to be equal."

That's where Holly Hacker comes into the picture in this next step of their business journey. At the moment, she exists as a sketch on Nilsson's iPhone. But the trio are restyling her, putting the final touches to the new heroine.

"We're not quite finished with her," says Levin rather affectionately while Knapp flicks through her smartphone images and reveals Holly.

"Holly Hacker's even more hardcore than Cody Coder," Knapp explains. "And she's quite edgy. That's another myth we are trying to debunk, that coders dress a certain way, that they have certain personalities."

"Coding is for everyone," Knapp concludes. 

Ann Törnkvist (ann.tornkvist@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden hotels win Booking.com price row
A hotel near Gothenburg. Photo: Fredrik Broman/Image Bank Sweden

Sweden hotels win Booking.com price row

UPDATED: Hotel reservation website Booking.com has agreed to allow hoteliers in Sweden to charge cheaper online prices elsewhere, following a long legal battle. READ  

Sweden company boards show boost in women
A Swedish business meeting. Photo: Henrik Trygg/Image Bank Sweden

Sweden company boards show boost in women

Almost 30 percent of board members on Swedish companies are expected to be women this year, a rise of around five percent. The increase comes ahead of a possible law change in 2016, as the coalition government seeks to ensure the figure rises to 40 percent. READ  

Sweden opens first remote control air tower
Staff working at Örnsköldsvik airport. Photo: TT

Sweden opens first remote control air tower

The world's first remote air control tower has opened at Örnsköldsvik airport in northern Sweden, air traffic authorities have revealed. READ  

The Local investigates
Brits in Sweden face NHS access clampdown
British Prime Minister David Cameron during a visit to a British hospital in Whitby, England earlier this month. Photo: TT

Brits in Sweden face NHS access clampdown

UPDATED: British people living in Sweden and other EU countries could find themselves forced to take out private health insurance, due to a fresh clampdown on expats using the UK's National Health Service. READ  

Sweden passport ranked most powerful in world
A Swedish passport issued in 2014. Photo: TT

Sweden passport ranked most powerful in world

UPDATED: Having a Swedish passport in your pocket when you go abroad is more beneficial than having travel identification from any other country in the world, according to a new study. READ  

Neo-Nazis spread unrest at school Holocaust talk
Members of a Swedish neo-Nazi group at another demonstration. Photo: Fredrik Persson/SCANPIX

Neo-Nazis spread unrest at school Holocaust talk

A group of neo-Nazis marched into a school and took pictures of the audience during a lecture by a Holocaust survivor in Varberg in southern Sweden. READ  

Migrant boat tragedy
Swedish government split on embassy asylum
People look on as survivors of this weekend's shipwreck are carried off a coastguard boat. Photo: AP Photo/Carmelo Imbesi

Swedish government split on embassy asylum

The devastating shipwreck disaster in the Mediterranean has put the question of allowing EU embassies to process asylum applications back on the table, as the UN upped the death toll to 800 in the latest tragedy. But the Swedish coalition government remains divided on the issue. READ  

Sweden's Eriksson joins England foreigner row
Sven-Göran Eriksson at a press conference in Shanghai last year. Photo: TT

Sweden's Eriksson joins England foreigner row

Former England manager, Sweden's Sven-Göran Eriksson has said he supports proposals to limit the number of foreign players allowed to play for football teams in England, even if that means fewer Swedish stars joining the Premier League. READ  

First Swedish spring strawberries at auction
Swedish strawberries snapped in 2014. Photo: TT

First Swedish spring strawberries at auction

Sweden's annual strawberry crop contest has a winner, with Lars Jacobsen from Skåne in southern Sweden the first to produce the fresh fruits in 2015. READ  

Opinion
'Security Council needs Sweden's soft power'
The Swedish government is lobbying for a seat on the UN Security Council. Photo: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

'Security Council needs Sweden's soft power'

Sweden is needed on the United Nations Security Council, but it should not forget its soft power values as it lobbies for a seat, Aleksander Gabelic, chairman of the UN Association of Sweden writes in this week's debate article. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Photo: TT
National
Get set for a sunny week in Sweden
Swedish Hasbeens
Sponsored Article
Is the world wrong to connect Sweden with sex?
National
Refugees in Sweden fear for families lost at sea
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
"You may only do something once, but do it 100%"
Blog updates

17 April

Editor’s blog, April 17th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, After several days of social media buzz about an upcoming announcement from Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus,..." READ »

 

15 April

Gång, timme, tid & dags (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! In this article I will talk about “gång”, “timmar”, “dags” and “tid”, because they all translate..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Syria claims ‘most dangerous’ Isis leaders are Scandinavian
Gallery
People-watching: April 18th
National
Swedish researchers pore over link between coffee and cancer
Features
What you can buy in Sweden for the price of a London shed
National
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Swedes launch first donut into space
Politics
Is Sweden returning to 1990s social democratic welfare politics?
National
Mamma Mia! Abba entertainment venue set to open in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: April 15th
National
Why Sweden is top place in the world for expats to raise children
National
Swedish 'submarine' was civilian boat
Sponsored Article
Want to study in Sweden? Read why Stockholm is the best choice
National
Why has a US town got pulled into a Swedish spelling row?
Gallery
Property of the week: Hovås, Gothenburg
National
What does Zlatan think of his ban?
Sponsored Article
Does far-north Sweden have to punch above its weight?
National
Swedish teenagers help rebuild Breivik massacre island
National
Would you live in a steel box?
National
How an act of kindness by one Syrian immigrant went viral
Gallery
People-watching: April 8th
National
Swedish bids for Billboard fame
National
Swedish monkeys denied Saudi visas
National
Sunny spring weather predicted
Sponsored Article
'Impossible' to run Skanska without Bromma Airport
National
Half of Swedes want begging ban
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
National
Why are expats less likely to settle down with Swedes?
Sport
What does Sweden think of Zlatan's recent outburst?
Society
Get to grips with Sweden's most bizarre Easter traditions
Gallery
People-watching: April 1st
National
The Local's best April Fools' gags
National
US spy agency to feature in new 'Stieg Larsson' book sequel
National
Beaver bite at Swedish bus stop
Gallery
Property of the week: Åreda
National
How this Syrian travelled to Sweden
Was Swedish TV host too harsh on nationalist leader Åkesson?
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
Scandinavian airlines change cockpit rules after Germanwings crash
National
Sweden remembers Nobel laureate Tomas Tranströmer
Politics
Why petrol prices are going up
Gallery
People-watching: March 28th
Stieg Larsson's partner blasts Millennium trilogy sequel
Society
How to never miss your favourite weekly features on The Local
Gallery
People-watching: March 25th
Sponsored Article
Ten tips for succeeding as a start-up in Sweden
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,280
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se