This project explores the realm of programming and art education for
young children, trying to bring these two disciplines together in a fun and playful way. The aim is to allow children to express themselves creatively and at the same time explore and understand basic concepts of programming.
From the idea of creating a tool for education, this project has evolved, throughout the iterative design process of prototyping and testing, into a toolbox for personal exploration and discovery of Art and technology.
This toolbox not only aims to give children the opportunity to grow and develop their understanding of digital media but also aims to help them create stronger bonds with people around them, by creating opportunities for sharing and participating together in the activities that they will create.
The outcome is a physical modular interface that allows children to build, piece by piece, a digital and interactive art experience that they can eventually share and play with family and friends.
The factors that shaped this project are multiple, starting form the decision of considering Art as opportunity for expanding the ways programming is introduced to young children.
The main reasons behind the decision:
1 - The shift from STEM to STEAM education. Where Art was recently added to the other four disciplines for the future of education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
2 - The success that the Creative Coding Community has had in introducing programming to people of all ages through tools such as Processing, P5.js, Scratch and Arduino (just to mention a few).
3 - Art has the power of reducing if not eliminating the fear of failure. It creates a channel through which people can explore ideas without worrying about making mistakes, as there is not wrong or right answer.
And I had the possibility to directly experience this last point during the conversation, workshops and activities I had with children from five different countries. It was fascinating to see how children would often use art as way to open up the conversation with me, someone they didn't know.
Art is therefore not only a great medium to learn and explore new concepts but is a great tool for communication. And this idea was at the core of my project.