ScratchJr is an introductory visual programming language for young children. It is inspired by Scratch (previously), and is available as a free iPad app. Future plans include an Android version and a web-based version.
In June of 1973, spurred on by the recent discovery of a dying bird in his garden, 9-year-old Anthony Hollander wrote to the presenters of Blue Peter — the BBC's much-loved children's television show — and asked for assistance in his quest to "make people or animals alive."
When her son refused to do his school work, his mom had him stand out on a busy street corner with a sandwich board trumpeting his 1.22 GPA. [more inside]
Vanessa Mae Nicholson is one of Britain’s most successful young musicians. A classical violinist and former child prodigy who self-describes her crossover style as "violin techno-acoustic fusion," her fans praise her modern creativity and frenetic, lightning-fast riffs. But is her talent learned or genetic? Documentary from BBC1 in 2008: Vanessa Mae - The Making of Me: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. [more inside]
TotLol is a video website designed specifically for children. It is community moderated Youtube. The videos are submitted, screened and rated by parents. Some samples include: Bassett Hound Beat Box, Guitar Tips for Kids, and a Children's Book on India. Educational and fun.
“…if I had to design a mechanism for the express purpose of destroying a child’s natural curiosity and love of pattern-making, I couldn’t possibly do as good a job as is currently being done — I simply wouldn’t have the imagination to come up with the kind of senseless, soul-crushing ideas that constitute contemporary mathematics education.” [more inside]
Music makes you smarter if you get an early start. Certainly debatable given the incredibly small sample, but perhaps it's a prelude to an emerging 21st-century collaborative scientific suite or symphony that can explain why we love music so much.
The Human Speechome Project - "A baby is to be monitored by a network of microphones and video cameras for 14 hours a day, 365 days a year, in an effort to unravel the seemingly miraculous process by which children acquire language.". Selected video clips. Paper (PDF, 750KB). To test hypotheses of how children learn, Prof Deb Roy's team at MIT will develop machine learning systems that “step into the shoes” of his son by processing the sights and sounds of three years of life at home. Total storage required: 1.4 petabytes.
The Universe on a Paper Plate. Complexity -> Simplicity for kids.
Boy quits school at 7, becomes MIT professor at 20. Is alternative education a good idea? This article seems much more positive than another recent boy-genius post. It appears that most reporters assume that child prodigies are antisocial and that their parents are over-ambitious (they use negatively-connotated synonyms of those terms).
Two months from illiterate to MP3 trading hax0rz. Very cool social experiment showing how easy today's GUIs are to use, especially for kids.