Simon writes, "With just 3 days to run, this Kickstarter to make 'Beep Beep Yarr!' a fantastic, pirate-themed programming book for kids needs your support to graduate."
£19 gets you a digital copy of the book and the app; £25 gets you a physical book and the app. The folks behind this publish Linux Voice, a very successful magazine, and have lots of experience managing complex projects and shipping to deadline. I'd call it a good bet that you'd get something for your money. They're hoping to raise £20,000.
Grace and Alan use computers in the way that we want everyone to use computers. Technology can open up a whole new world, a whole new culture and a new way of thinking. Kids should look at a computer and know that it isn't a mysterious black box that they're not allowed to tinker with. They should be encouraged to play with code, to break things and put them back together, just as they would with Lego, or a Scalextric, or a train set. There should be no rules – this is what makes Minecraft so great, for example.
But there won’t be any programming code in the book. We want 6-, 7- and 8-year-olds to read alone, or with parents at bedtime. We want them to feel fully immersed in the adventure. As far as the kids know, they're escaping from a crocodile. But in reality they might be learning about loops, or conditional statements, or Boolean values.
We’ve also come up with something unique. At the end of each chapter, you and your children can access an interactive challenge online – playable via a smartphone, tablet or computer. These challenges will put the ideas from the book into practice, playing with programming and the main characters from the book to accomplish a specific task.
Beep Beep Yarr! [Linux Voice/Kickstarter]
The Nightmare Machine is an MIT project to use machine learning image-processing to make imagery for Hallowe’en.
The Stormtrooper Decanter is on back-order, but you can pre-order one from the next batch for £22 — it’s based on Andrew Ainsworth’s original movie helmet moulds from 1976, and will provide endless opportunities to point to lowball glasses and say things like “aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper drink?” (via Bonnie Burton)
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