The GameBender teaches kids to code through gaming. It’s no longer a secret that teaching kids to code is an important part of learning in today’s world. And, it doesn’t really matter what path the child chooses, this is a skill that teaches problem-solving.
So, when is the right age to code? According to an article published on VentureBeat, it’s never too early to expose kids to coding. There’s no telling if toddlers can actually learn to code, but we can certainly plant the seeds.
However, for kids that are seven years or older, using an immersive game might be the best way to learn to code. And, that is exactly what the Cocoa Beach-based education startup, seeks to do with the GameBender.
What Exactly is GameBender
Now, imagine a game system that lets you modify games as you play them? This is what GameBender is about.
Basically, different parts of the game can be modified (that’s “bending”) while you play it. This is a great way to unleash unbelievable creativity during play. The fun thing about GameBender is that though it might look like play, it actually teaches coding.
Actually, this is not surprising because it is a well-known fact that kids learn better through play. And, in early learning at least, play and learning go hand in glove. This is something the creators of GameBender know too well. They have harnessed the power of play to teach the fundamentals of coding to kids. The GameBender is a game that is built to appeal to kids.
As such, GameBender is designed in bright red with a playful bananas theme. It includes a state-of-the-art game controller, matching console, advanced augmented reality camera, 3D glasses, and easy-to-use code flash cards. The flashcards are to help kids write their first code stacks, known as “glitches”.
So, What Do You Get with GameBender?
Well, with GameBender, you get literally millions of coded Scratch projects. Interestingly, the founder of GameBender was part of the team that helped launch Scratch at MIT. If you’re searching for an intuitive visual coding language for beginners, then try Scratch. But that’s not all you get with the GameBender.
First, the GameBender is an immersive game, which means that you can actually bring yourself into the game. With the way it’s built, you can turn any game into a full body augmented reality experience. This is an amazing feature of the GameBender that will appeal to most kids (and adults too).
Second, GameBender comes with apps and TV shows to make it an even more interactive experience.
Finally, you can blur the lines between playing and creating to bend the game to your wishes (or something close). This game system is not just flexible but is also intuitive and easy to use. There are filters which let you change the game and glitches that let you design the game.
So, you can create new characters, give them new powers and even cast a magic spell. With GameBender, it’s almost like creating new games as you go along.
What We Love About GameBender
Frankly, the way it gradually immerses kids into the world of coding and then teaches them how to code is just awesome. When kids are fully engaged in what they’re doing, it becomes easier to learn. The code card guides kids and helps them write their first snippet of code, which they can apply to the game. It’s hands-on, visual and totally engaging as kids learn the fundamentals of coding.
For instance, there are 25 code cards which have Code Class 101 that walks the player through making their first games. And they get to do this with their friends too!
The GameBender Team
Now, you might be wondering about the people behind this fantastic game. They are a group of fun-loving and passionate people who have spent years developing educational games for kids. The team is led by GameBender founder and CEO, Jay Silver who has a Ph.D. from MIT Media Lab Lifelong Kindergarten. He was the first ever Maker Research Scientist at Intel.
In conclusion, this game system has grant funding from the National Science Foundation and a partnership with Scratch. They also launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring their dream to reality. Find out more about them on their Kickstarter campaign page.