How this all got started…
Francesco Pinto (aka Franchino) started Gamifyed in 2013 as he tried to teach his three children computer science (2nd, 3rd and 4th grade). Now, he’s making it his mission to help other parents inspire their kids to get more involved. He says the number one issue is that we don’t provide kids with enough context around why they should learn computer science.
“It was impossible. I simply could not get the buy-in amongst my kids. They refused to willingly spend time on it no matter how much I incentivized it. It was too intangible for them.”
Eventually he discovered the reasons why they were reluctant:
- It felt like more school work to them. It wasn’t as cool to them as it was to their father
- The digital natives were more interested in playing traditional video games and sports
- His kids had no context of why they should spend time studying computer science. The benefits and opportunity were not clear to them
A programmer, HCI designer and user researcher by trade, Franchino quickly saw the opportunity in this crisis. He began asking other parents what their views were on the matter and found that most parents had similar goals and frustrations, with no solution at hand.
“These kids were practically born with iPhones and tablets in their hands. They don’t care about how they are made, programmed or what impact the underlying technology can have on their future. They take technology for granted.”
Franchino isn’t just talking about learning to code apps either. He’s talking about ECE, an emerging field that bundles electrical engineering, computer sciences, the internet of things and more.
“Today you can put your skin cells on a chip and analyze them with a Pi. You can remote control a live beetle with diodes and some code. There will be 50 billion IoT objects online by 2020. Even your soccer ball will soon have a MEMS chip and a tiny wifi module that can tell your phone how much force or spin you kicked the ball with. I wan to start educating kids early on about the future of ECE by way of story telling.”
Last year Franchino quit his job and began attacking the problem space full-time with heaps of creativity. “I began authoring parts of a graphic novel illustrating the life of a young hacker using the likeness of my oldest son, Frankie Jr. I like to think I combined lots of action with real world hacks and technology. Every chip, hardware part, code snippet and brand in the book is real, nothing is masked.”
Franchino found success in doing this and his kids are now eager to learn on their own and are fascinated with hacking and hardware. “I’ve given the materials to other parents and the results are in, this definitely could work.”
Much progress has already been made!
World leaders express their views on why kids should get started earlier.
We’ve been profiling real world industry professionals, hackers, designers and prodigies to understand their reactions, expressions and thought process. Here are some early examples of our sketches:
Our timeline is simple, we don’t want to overcomplicate it. We will send our final edited version to print ninja in April 1st (our 1 year anniversary). The copies will arrive by sea a month later and begin shipping May 15th. Our supply chain and distribution facility is in place, we simply need demand.