May 18, 2017 | By Allison Goodfellow-Ash
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At its base, Hopscotch teaches kids how to code. Inspired heavily by Scratch, it’s an actual programming language. Kids use colorful blocks to create functions, learning logical sequences and timing while playing with brightly colored characters.
“The idea being that kids, and people in general, learn by doing when they’re put in the right context.” CEO and cofounder Jocelyn Leavitt told us. “We wanted to create an app that was a toy and a tool.”
Hopscotch began with a single question, “Why are there so few women in engineering and entrepreneurial software development?” Spearheaded by Jocelyn and fellow cofounder Sam John, Hopscotch dug into the research behind the gender gap. And they realized it starts in childhood.
“Guys get into it at a young age because they’re into video games and then they want to learn how to build them,” Jocelyn noted, “There’s no real equivalent toy for girls–to get them into programming. We wanted to make a toy that did that for girls.”
Although Hopscotch started out with a premise geared towards narrowing the gender gap in technology, Jocelyn and Sam realized there really wasn’t any need to limit the app. Their goal was to make the technology accessible and fun, allowing them to shift gears and evolve into a gender-neutral app while making sure none of their decisions left girls out of the equation.
Hopscotch perpetually keeps kids in mind. With every new development, they hop on Twitter and offer kids the opportunity to come in and beta-test. Stylesight’s Kids Team decided to pop by and see the Hopscotch team in action.
Samantha, an 8-year-old New Yorker, showed us her skills. A pro at using Hopscotch 1.0, she weighed in with her thoughts on the latest version. After Hopscotch’s user experience designer Francisco showed her a game developed by a fellow player, Samantha quickly and adeptly learned how to make her own version, coding the interactions by herself. Within 15 minutes, Samantha had a game she engineered, all on her own.
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