On Your Mark, Get Set, Get Ready! (April 2016)
Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 4.25.26 PMWhile game design and programming is all the rage with K-12 students, the real power behind the movement is computational thinking. The power behind game design is the logic inherent in various programming languages. We’ve come across a tool that has the power to transform student thinking. It’s an ambitious web-based platform called “Ready” that inspires kids to “think in code.” It is built on top of the Unity3D engine, so what kids can make with ready has the “feel” of a professional environment.  It’s a real tool, but designed to be accessible to younger minds.
Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 4.25.37 PMWith a highly accessible user interface, Ready allows for very “quick wins”— kids can get stuff on screen fast and have it accomplish a goal— while at the same time being architected around a structured object-oriented programming system.  This serves to impart a deep understanding of software creation while generating a tremendous amount of engagement— it’s frankly a lot of fun to make stuff in Ready.
Many educators have said that Ready is the best tool they’ve seen, especially for kids in between Scratch and interpreted languages, like Javascript, to bridge over that chasm from easy to hard, which leaves so many kids struggling to retain motivation.  As one experienced teacher put it: “The easiest Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 4.25.48 PMway to think of Ready is a lovechild of Unity and Scratch that teaches coding logic in a visual means the way that Minecraft teaching engineering in a visual environment.” Ready is available in Windows, Mac OS, and iPad formats. (Android format is on its way)
Ready is the brainchild of David Bennahum. David is currently testing how Ready can support educators in their mission to inspire the next generation to acquire computational skills and thinking.  Currently Ready is testing with Dwight, Browning, Heschel, and Avenues in NYC.