Sunday, May 8, 2016

Moomins Teach Coding - Wait What?

If there’s one Finnish brand that will never expire, it’s got to be the Moomins. I read the same Moomin stories to my kids that my mom read to me. Also, every Finn seems to have a dozen of Moomin cups in their cupboard. You just cannot avoid them. I’m not sure if I’ve ever bought a single one, but I have like 5, which is probably below average. If you don’t buy them yourself, your mom or your friend will buy them for you.

So, when the Moomins start to teach coding, that’s not something to be taken lightly. And guess what I heard? Well it happens that my Japanese colleagues at Reaktor are organizing a Moomin Code School in Tokyo next Saturday. I was lucky to have a sneak peek at what they’re gonna give to the kids, so I took the "Moomin IDE” for a test drive with my daughter.


Things look up for the Moomins: the coding environment seems already pretty solid: it’s like Scratch but more focused and easier to use. You can learn the basics of programming, like command sequences, loops, even defining your own functions by dragging colorful blocks around. I would love to use this environment in my code schools too, before stepping into more hardcore stuff, that is.

My 7-year old coder girl picked up the Moomin IDE instantly. No wonder, because she’s already used Scratch and the layout is familiar. She easily threw together a program that draws a square and then, with a little help, named it “square” using one of the blocks in the "procedures" palette. This way a new block named "square" appeared in the palette. Using the newly made "square" block, she then made a program that draws a square 360 times, rotating just a little between repetions. The result was an awesome black ball! Too bad there’s no “change color” block yet, so we had to go back to Turtle Roy to make the Japanese flag:

Here’s our Turtle Roy drawing that draws the flag, btw:

Regarding the Moomin Code School event, I’m damn jealous it’s in Japan! Would love to see what’s up. Is the Moominpappa himself a hardcore hacker nowadays? Which one of the Moomin characters do you think will be the best coder? If I was looking for a Senior Moomin Architect, I’d probably hire this guy "Snork". If I was looking for a hacker-type I'd go for Little My.

Snork and Little My

The set of characters is just so juicy that I cannot wait for the Moomin Code School to land in Finland some day too. 

Here’s a link to the Moomin Code School event page: There are instructions for joining on the page, in Japanese. So if you’re in Japan, I insist you go there and tell me what happened!