This past summer, Tacoma Public Library partnered with Lifelong Kindergarten at MIT Media Lab to provide free coding classes for youth age 8 and up. The workshops were held at nearly every open location and allowed students to learn computational and problem-solving skills through an app called OctoStudio. The workshops also allowed MIT researchers to get input and feedback from their target audience before launching worldwide.
According to MIT Media Lab, “OctoStudio is a new coding app that transforms how young people use mobile phones and tablets, enabling them to create their own stories and games anytime, anywhere. With OctoStudio, young people can take photos and record sounds, bring them to life with coding blocks, and send their projects to friends and family.”
Developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten at the MIT Media Lab, OctoStudio is the result of deep partnership and iterative design with community-based educators and young people all around the world, including in Tacoma. Tacoma, Washington, is the hometown of MIT researcher Jaleesa Trapp.
“We are grateful for contributions that came from the Summer Coding Camp Workshops with Tacoma Public Library,” stated Trapp. “During the workshops, young people tested out features and even suggested new emojis that we were able to implement!”
Additionally, Tacoma City Council provided funding for the iPads used in the workshops, which were then donated to Tacoma Public Library to support ongoing STEM programs and digital literacy efforts.
OctoStudio is now available for free in app stores for both iOS and Android, and includes translations in more than 20 languages. Once downloaded, OctoStudio enables young people to create projects offline without the need for data or wifi.
For more information about OctoStudio, please visit octostudio.org.