• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Stockholm app makers teach six-year-olds HTML

Ann Törnkvist · 21 Feb 2014, 17:28

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.

Story continues below…

"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
PLO seeks apology over Sweden Eurovision flag ban
Sweden was the first EU member state in Western Europe to officially recognise the State of Palestine. Photo: TT

First it was the Basques...

Sweden's king celebrates 70th birthday
King Carl XVI Gustaf joins in with a rendition of All You Need Is Love with the Tensta Gospel Choir and their leader Cedwin Sandanam. Photo: TT

But Norwegian royals stay at home after deadly helicopter crash.

Brussels attacks
Swedish terror suspect 'dumped bomb in toilet'
Osama Krayem. Photo: Facebook

Belgian media report that Osama Krayem tried to dispose of the explosives before carrying them onto the Brussels metro system.

Eurovision 2016
Regional politicians hit out at Sweden's Eurovision flag ban
Lots of flag-waving at Eurovision. Photo: AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson

Spanish politicians have criticized Swedish Eurovision organizers after a regional flag was banned alongside that of Isis from the competition in Stockholm.

Eight charged over shooting at Gothenburg restaurant
People leaving flowers at the scene of the fatal shooting last year. Photo: TT

The attack last spring left two people dead in one of the most high-profile shootings in Sweden in recent years.

Swedes want answers from Russia after Nato warning
Russian T-14 Armata tanks make their way to Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in May. Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

UPDATED: What exactly does Russia's foreign minister mean when he says his country will "take action" if Sweden joins Nato?

Two historic shipwrecks found right in central Stockholm
Divers looking for a ship in central Stockholm. Photo: Anders P Näsberg/Statens maritima museer

Another two shipwrecks dating back to at least the 1600s have been found in central Stockholm.

Alicia Vikander scoops lead role in new Tomb Raider
Alicia Vikander poses at the Scandinavian terrace during the 68th Cannes film festival last May. Photo: Jean Christophe Magnenet/AFP

The next Lara Croft will be a Swede.

Brussels terror suspect wants jail time in Sweden
Osama Krayem. Photo: Facebook

Osama Krayem wants to come home if found guilty.

The Local Recipes
How to make Sweden's famous veal burgers
Photo: John Duxbury

These mouth-watering burgers, or Wallenbergare, are a classic at Swedish restaurants. Food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe with The Local.

Sponsored Article
Kista: The best office space in Sweden?
Analysis & Opinion
Why Sweden's fretting about Brexit
Sponsored Article
Why international researchers love to call Malmö home
National
INTERVIEW: Swedish police officer 'beat me up and used racial slurs'
Gallery
People-watching: April 27th
Blog updates

29 April

Editor’s blog, April 29th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Relations between Sweden and Russia went from slightly strained to full-on James Bond this…" READ »

 

18 April

A day as a guard (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Life as an Ambassador. Driven around in the Jaguar. Visits all planned so you go straight…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
‘Life in Stockholm’s suburbs is better than people realize’
National
Öresund bridge border checks net record number of drink drivers
Sponsored Article
'A huge waste of resources': how to fix integration
National
Swedes bid farewell to iconic Volvo
Gallery
Property of the week: Enköping
Gallery
People-watching: April 22nd-24th
Sponsored Article
'A sustainable Sweden must embrace diversity'
Politics
Could Brits in Europe stop Brexit?
Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
National
The first official picture of Sweden's new royal Prince Alexander
National
Sweden's Sami reindeer still live in the shadow of Chernobyl
Sponsored Article
Sigtunaskolan: 'The best of what Sweden has to offer'
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 20th
Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
National
Why was a Nazi flag hoisted in a Swedish town on Hitler's birthday?
National
How did Sweden's deputy PM get in trouble over New York comments?
Sponsored Article
Becoming an expat: where to start
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 16th-17th
Sponsored Article
'I may work at a Swedish company, but we’re global'
Culture
Sweden finally axes historic dancing ban
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: Stockholm's secret dating scene
International
Have you phoned Sweden yet?
Sponsored Article
'Swedes must realize only soft power can defeat radicalism'
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 13th
National
Is booze going up in Sweden?
National
How Sweden's fake 'smombie' traffic sign is being used for real
Culture
Sweden's Tarzan drops trousers
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 9th-10th
Sport
Zlatan wants to be new 'Rambo'
National
Swedes in a huff about giant TV penis
3,297
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