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HP Labs researchers initiate school children to basic programming concepts




A group of eight HP Labs researchers from Palo Alto recently spent half a day teaching computer programming basics to a class of young children at the Dorsa Elementary School in South San Jose.


The team of researchers used the Scratch website to introduce the children to the basics of programming.  Scratch, developed by MIT Media Lab, is a “tile-based visual programming environment and toolkit, which lets kids make games, animated stories, interactive art, and share with others on the Net.”


Introducing young children to programming is not that uncommon anymore. It helps them understand how computers work and makes technology seem less mysterious. In fact, children take to it quite readily.


“It was fantastic to see these kids dive in and get so excited at the chance to use the new HP computer lab. I had so much fun walking them through an example and then watching them explore and come up with all new ways to control the experience. When they realized they were ‘programming’ they felt very proud,” said April Mitchell, a member of the HP Labs volunteer team.


“After interacting with the kids and observing all the joy and excitement in their eyes, I realized the true meaning of Make it Matter,” added Mehran Kafai, a member of the Analytics Lab.


Asked if this team of HP volunteers will go back, Rares Vernica, a researcher in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab, told us: “During the Q&A with the kids at the end, the very first question a little girl asked was: ‘When are we doing this again?’” So, yes, they will be going back.




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The experience and learning gained from the partnership of our HP Community Leaders and our Dorsa Elementary School students is beyond compare.  There will be positive lifetime implications from this one event.  It opened young eyes to the opportunities of the world!   We can't wait for you to come back and work with other students.  When businesses and schools work together, we all profit!

-Ms. Duncan Principal

Such a fulfilling experience! win-win for both, i.e. kids and volunteers!