WGBH show will aim to help kids think like computers

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A program under development at WGBH for PBS Kids will teach children how to reason like intelligent machines.

EdSurge, a website that covers education and technology, reports that WGBH EP Marisa Wolsky is in the early stages of developing an animated program, Monkeying Around, that teaches kids the concept of computational thinking. The show is funded by CPB and the National Science Foundation. Wolsky helped develop the pubTV kids’ programs Zoom, Arthur and Peet and the Big Wide World.

The concept of computational thinking “is taking off” in the educational research world, according to EdSurge.

“When I produced Design Squad in 2007, the awareness of what engineering was, was very low,” Wolsky said. “We were learning more and more that computational thinking is an approach to solving problems that is fundamental to computer science, other STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] disciplines and executive functions.”

Her team is working on identifying educational goals and how best to teach children the skills. The work is underway with researchers from the Center for Digital Education and Marina Umaschi Bers, a computer science professor at Tufts University.

Monkeying Around is expected to be available to air in 2019.