• 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
How a Swedish rocker saved the life of this cute baby elk
Erik Brodén's daughters Tyra and Brita with the elk baby. Photo: Private

Probably the sweetest story you'll read today.

Man sentenced over dinner party murder in west Sweden
The man during a preliminary court hearing last year. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

He stabbed his friend at a dinner party and attempted to kill two others.

The Local List
Ten reasons why Varberg is the best place in Sweden
The Local shows some love for Varberg. Photo: Mikael Pilstrand/MarknadVarberg

Forget Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmö, it looks like seaside town Varberg is Sweden's place to be.

Zlatan on his future: 'I made my choice a long time ago'
Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Thursday's press conference. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

Go on then, Zlatan, tell us what it is.

Nooo! Rain and floods set to dampen Swedes' summer joy
Rain in Sweden earlier this year. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

So, that was the Swedish summer? Nice while it lasted.

Homes
Slow design: How Nordic style can make your life better

The world has long been hungry for Nordic lifestyle, with its love of design, nature, and light. But this is about much more than painting your floorboards white or throwing a sheepskin on a chair – it’s a mindset that informs everyday life.

Report: Swedish information security 'not good enough'
Information security in government agencies has been criticised. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Low levels of security could lead to significant consequences, the state auditor warned.

Man arrested in Malmö after armed attack on car
Damaged cars at the scene of the incident. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The incident occurred in the south of the city.

What's on in Sweden
Four fantastic foodie events across Sweden this weekend
It's beer and food galore in Stockholm this weekend. Photo: Brooklyn Brewery Mash

Are world foods your thing, or do you prefer a banquet with beer? Either way you're covered in Sweden this weekend.

Sweden votes yes to controversial Nato deal
A Nato exercise in Spain 2014. Photo: AP Photo/Daniel Tejedor

A bid to stall the decision was voted down.

Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
Gallery
People-watching: May 25th
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
Society
WATCH: Why Swedish handyman wore pink high heels for feminism
Sport
LIST: Top-ten ridiculous things Zlatan has compared himself to
Blog updates

20 May

Editor’s blog, May 20th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Do not mention Abba! Or cuckoo clocks! Our most read article this week was…" READ »

 

17 May

What about “att”? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! It often seems like the small words are the ones that cause the most confusion.…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Business & Money
Why Swedes don't want the euro
Sponsored Article
Stockholm makes it easier for refugees to meet startups
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Vika, Falun
National
Is this the most Swedish tattoo ever?
Gallery
People-watching: May 20th-22nd
Sponsored Article
Food, fun, and reliable sun: Summer in Dubrovnik
National
How to really annoy a Swede abroad
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm startups help new employees feel at home
National
How this war veteran is warming hearts in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: May 18th
Sponsored Article
'Only soft power can defeat radicalism'
National
How this Swede's viral ad totally nailed Stockholm's housing crisis
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm attracts so many successful researchers
Gallery
Property of the week: Vasastaden, Gothenburg
Lifestyle
The best Swedish cities for dating
Gallery
People-watching: May 13th-15th
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Culture
BLOG: Eurovision as it happened
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Why a 116-year-old Swede isn't the world's oldest woman
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
National
Youth unemployment falls in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: May 11th
Gallery
People-watching: May 6th-8th
Politics
Why Sweden's Greens are in free fall
National
Can these cartoon Swedes help foreigners blend in?
National
Why this fearless woman is the talk of Sweden
National
Sweden set for sunny weekend
3,307
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