If you are a regular reader, you probably know two things about me – that I am a fan of Kickstarter, and that I am a proponent of teaching kids how to code. One of my more recent Kickstarter acquisitions was the Robot Turtles game, which is a board game that introduces young students the basics of programming. My first graders loved playing it during “Hour of Code” week, and it was easy to transition them to other programming games like Kodable once they had that foundation.
Kickstarter apparently knows me well, because one of their recent e-mails highlighted a new project that will also help to introduce students to programming, “Hello Ruby.”
The name of the main character of the proposed storybook, Ruby, comes from Ruby on Rails, which is described as “an open-source web framework that’s optimized for programmer happiness and sustainable productivity.” I must admit that, though I’ve heard it mentioned quite a bit in coding conversations, I know absolutely nothing about it. It sounds intriguing – and completely over my head.
Linda Liukas, who co-founded “Rails Girls“, a non-profit with the goal of encouraging women to embrace technology, wants to help dispel the mystique around programming by creating a children’s book and workbook to introduce the topic. Ruby is the main character. According to Liukas, “Ruby’s world is an extension of the way I’ve learned to see technology. It goes far beyond the bits and bytes inside the computer. This is the story of what happens between the ones and zeros, before the arrays and the if/else statements. The book and workbook are aimed for four to seven year olds.”
The drawings are whimsical and appealing, just like Linda Liukas. If you watch the video on her Kickstarter site, you will find it easy to understand why, even though she only requested $10,000 to back the project, over $175,000 has already been pledged – and there are still 25 more days to go.
I can’t really recommend a product that I haven’t actually used, but I will tell you that I have backed this project because it looks very promising. For those of you who are not familiar with Kickstarter, there are various levels available for you to pledge, and the money is not taken from you until the end of the funding period (and only if it is fully funded). Also, if the funding surpasses the original request, there are usually “stretch goals”, which allow backers to receive a bit more than they originally expected. Liukas has already listed the stretch goals for “Hello Ruby” on the site. Also, you should note that delivery of this particular product (if you pledge at a level to receive something) is expected in August of this year.
It’s exciting to back Kickstarter projects – to get in on the ground floor of the creation of something that has the potential to make a great impact. During the process, you receive e-mail updates, and get to learn more about what has to happen in order for a dream to become a reality. If you haven’t done it before, I encourage you to take a look at the Kickstarter site. It’s a great feeling to contribute to helping someone to transform their ideas to tangible products that could effect the world.