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Platform teaches kids to program without computers

The journey began in May in the Hack For Good hackathon, where Fraunhofer AICOS’ researchers António Sousa, Eduardo Pereira, Paulo Torres da Silva, Ricardo Graça, Ricardo Peixoto, and Tiago Borba created LITmaker – an interactive educational platform for smartphones for kids to learn programming. The team reached the podium, and will now present the LITmaker solution at the Web Summit. 

The spirit to do good is the cornerstone of the work developed at AICOS, whose mission is to enhance people’s quality of life by offering them intuitive and useful technology solutions. Knowing most kids these days will go on to have a job related to technology fields, AICOS’ researchers drew from this mission, and decided to join Gulbenkian’s Hack for Good initiative, where they set out to build a tool to teach children computational thinking in a fun and interactive way.

Hack for Good was a 2 days non-stop development marathon organized by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to foster the development of technological solutions to social challenges. Participants, from a variety of fields, worked on apps, websites, platforms or even prototypes aimed at solving specific societal problems.

The culmination of the weekend’s activities was a prototype geared towards making programming accessible to children in diverse settings. Called LITmaker, the solution is an interactive educational platform for smartphones for kids to learn programming.

Through a mobile interface, kids don’t have to write code, but still apply algorithmic and programming concepts. Being a low-cost tool, it’s especially suited for low-resource areas, promoting equal opportunity in education even in schools where children don’t have access to computers.

The idea was a winning project and is now headed for the Web Summit, which occurs on November 5th and 8th, where they will show their project to the world on the Hack for Good’s stand. The team will continue working on the project, now aiming to look for partners and investors to take the solution to market.

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