• NautiCode: Coding for Kids

      Zeo, Brittany; Mullick, Rosemary; Adviser; Sarner, Ronald; Reviewer; Urban, Christopher; Reviewer (2016-05-08)
      Throughout my college career, I have asked students what made them decide to major in Computer Science. The answers I received very seldom revealed previous coding experience. Unfortunately, this is the system: you don’t know what you want to major in and so you choose something that looks interesting. You just hope it works out for the best. Fortunately for me, I had four years of programming experience in classes before reaching college as well as being a programmer on my high school’s FIRST Robotics team. This previous exposure to coding allowed me to make an educated decision about what I wanted to major in. It is not always the case that an individual gets this experience, and I want to change that. For my Masters Project, I have decided to come up with a website to get kids to learn and practice some basic concepts of coding: NautiCode. My target audience is mid to upper elementary school children. And best of all, there is no previous coding experience needed when using NautiCode. Even if Computer Science is not their career choice, they can have the exposure at an early age. Coding does not only benefit computer scientists; just having the background knowledge of concepts such as: logic, data storage, and how things relate, can be beneficial to an individual for any major. These ideas can help individuals think about problems differently and come up with solutions that would not have been possible had they not been exposed to computer science concepts. What better time in an individual’s life to introduce these concepts than childhood. Children’s brains are magnificent. They can absorb so much information and they think differently about the world. This leads to creative solutions and a new perspective. What I aim to do with NautiCode is to get children thinking in new ways and exploit their creativity and spark new ideas. I aim to give an explanation of the simple concepts in an introduction and gradually work up towards more difficult problems. Children are more capable than they know and with a little guidance, they can start creating their own technologies in no time. NautiCode is a fully functional website that I created on my own. The front end is using Scss, and HTML5 while the backend is using PHP, SQL, JS, and AJAX. My databases are being hosted locally through phpMyAdmin and MAMP.