Today, virtually every kid has a smart phone. That smart phone is full of apps and gadgets that do the job of what used to be 30+ separate machines. That is a lot of power in the hand of a child. What if we could use those apps to trigger creativity and enhance learning instead of being used to play hours of mindless games?
Raul Gutierrez created an app called The Everything Machine that teaches kids the basic skills of computer science and coding. The Everything Machine’s tagline says it all: “Imagine, Invent, Play.” That is exactly what this app allows children to do.
Through the app, Gutierrez has basically exposed all of the functions in a phone and created a platform for people to mix and match the applications in order to create a whole new “machine” that didn’t exist before. He has created a simple programming language that allows people to connect and control many of the sensors and tools in the phone. By doing this, people can create motion sensors, timers, news sounds triggered by light and so much more. This enables children to think about and identify cause-and-effect patterns starting at a very young age.
The sky is the limit as far as what they can do and their creativity. Instead of constantly telling children, “don’t touch that” or “don’t play with that,” this app allows children to play and tinker as much as they would like.
“A lot of times in school the way that it starts is very esoteric and I wanted something that was purely visual that lets kids get their hands dirty and get excited by the idea," Gutierrez told Wired. "Once they’re excited by the idea, that esoteric stuff doesn’t seem so esoteric.”
This opens up a world of creativity and skills for children that most people don’t get the opportunity to learn until high school or college. By allowing kids to follow their natural tendencies and embrace their inherent curiosity, we can drastically speed up the learning curve of.