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Can a Toy Robot Teach Kids Computer Programming?

In late 2012, Vikas Gupta left his job as head of the consumer payments division at Google and set out to discover what he would do with the rest of his life. He'd recently had a daughter, and he knew his next venture would involve helping kids. Then he chanced across an article about Estonia, and how that country begins teaching programming to all children in first grade. He did a little research into the state of computer science education in America and was shocked to find how rare it was. So he set out to create a compelling way for children as young as four or five to start learning basic coding concepts.

The result was Play-i, a new startup building robots that it hopes will teach children about programming through play. The...

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