• 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
Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden
The Northern Lights pictured in Sweden on Wednesday night. Photo: Norrsken Sverige

An unusually high level of solar activity means the spectacle could be visible from rare spots in the country.

Swedish police 'in crisis' says union head
A file photo of Swedish police officers. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The creation of a new merged national police authority in Sweden has not gone well, according to the Swedish Police Union.

Nobel Prizes 2016
Nobel Literature Prize announcement delayed
Haruki Murakami (pictured) is one of the bookmakers' favourites. Photo: Bernat Armangue/AP/TT

The delay is due to 'arithmetic', an academician said.

Horny elk hold up Swedish hunt
One of the randy animals in question. Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

The giant things just can't contain themselves.

Sweden to ban masks but not burqas at football matches
A masked supporter at a Stockholm derby football match last year. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

The ban is designed to curb violence at sporting events in Sweden, but it must also follow conventions on religious freedom.

Video
Heckler humbles Swedish golf champion with perfect putt
Henrik Stenson met his match in the final practice for the Ryder Cup. Photo: Charlie Riedel/AP/TT

Well that wasn't supposed to happen...

Presented by Invest Stockholm
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges

It’s no secret that Stockholm is serious about sustainability. We took a look at how the city's emerging startups are tackling global challenges, making the world a better place.

Warm weather melts H&M profits
An H&M store in central Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

A warm autumn may be good news for Swedes, but it was bad news for Sweden's biggest clothing brand.

Rail delays after heavy winds batter Sweden
The weather is expected to clear up. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Commuters were advised to take it easy in traffic on Friday, after harsh winds toppled trees across roads and railways across Sweden.

Homes
In pictures: Eight traditional Swedish tiled stoves
A tiled stove. Photo: Wrede Fastighetsmäkleri

The traditional Swedish masonry stove (kakelugn) is still a popular feature in many homes today. Houzz.se's Amanda Strömberg has found out more.

Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
National
OPINION: Sweden bad, Norway good, Trump better? I'm confused
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
National
Here's how much Sweden's highest-earning authors make
National
Where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »

 

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Expat finances in Sweden: the Common Reporting Standard
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
National
Aliens' sex lives? Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
3,028
jobs available