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Mattel finally launches a proper STEM coding course for Barbie

TOYMAKER Mattel and educational tech company Tynker are going to help you learn to code… with Barbie.

Just three years after a Barbie book called I Can Be A Computer Engineer was discovered, where the plastic princess exclaims “I’m only creating the design ideas… I’ll need Steven and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game!” it appears that Mattel has learned that for Barbie, it’s #TimesUp too.

According to Sven Gerjets, CTO of Mattel: “Through this collaboration, we continue our commitment to providing meaningful play experiences that are fun while helping kids with STEM learning, an important 21st-century learning skill.

“By exposing kids to STEM experiences on Tynker through Mattel characters they know and love, they may develop a passion for science and computing that could lead them to a career in a STEM-related field.”

It’s not the first tie-up for the two firms, but it’s quite symbolic given the other two ranges in the scheme were the rather testosterone-y Hot Wheels and Monster High.

The partnership hopes its coding education will reach 10m kids by 2020.

The first parts of the initiative for 2018 are:

  • “Dedicated Barbie Careers Programming Experience – The Barbie programming experience is designed for beginners (grades K and up), and will gradually introduce young learners to basic programming concepts by casting them in different career roles alongside Barbie. The experience will include seven modules and will launch alongside the reveal of Barbie’s “Career of the Year” in Summer 2018.”
  • “Mattel Code-A-Thon and Teacher Outreach – Mattel and Tynker will host a digital event during Back to School to encourage kids to participate in programming, featuring their favourite characters. Because teachers are important partners, the two companies will also work together to provide teachers with the tools needed to leverage this content in the classroom.”
  • “Global Student Engagement – Mattel and Tynker will continue to leverage content from Barbie, Hot Wheels, and Monster High to promote the 2018 Computer Science Education Week Hour of Code™ in December.

It’s not the first Barbie STEM attempt though. The last kit, released just last year let young girls aspiring for a career in computing to build a shoe rack or a jewellery holder.

Barbie is in the middle of something of an image shift at the moment, and although her live-action debut in film is delayed until 2020, she’ll be showing her teeth with a Tomb Raider Barbie doll to tie in with the forthcoming reboot, which will see her appear as a thin, buxom woman in tight clothing. 

So that’s feminism sorted, then. µ

Source : Inquirer

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