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Communications of the ACM

ACM Careers

Mattel and Tynker Will Use Barbie to Teach Kids to Code

Game Developer Barbie

Mattel introduced Game Developer Barbie in 2016.

Credit: Mattel Inc.

Mattel Inc. announced a commitment to introduce 10 million kids to coding by 2020 through an expanded partnership with Tynker, the award-winning computing platform used by one in three U.S. schools.

The partners are slated to launch seven Barbie coding lessons this year that will teach girls about computer science and programming and expose them to careers such as Pet Vet, Astronaut, and Robotics Engineer. This is just the next step in a multi-year partnership to introduce kids to the power of computing. Mattel and Tynker began their partnership in 2015 by developing Hot Wheels and Monster High programming experiences that reached almost 4 million kids. 

"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," says Sven Gerjets, CTO of Mattel. "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."

Mattel and Tynker have a number of key initiatives slated for 2018, including:

  • 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 favorite 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.

"For close to 75 years, Mattel has taken a visionary approach to advancing play for kids around the world, most recently promoting computer programming and other STEM skills alongside iconic brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels, and Monster High," says Krishna Vedati, Tynker's co-founder and CEO. "We are very excited by this expanded partnership and the ambitious—but achievable—goal of teaching 10 million kids to learn to code by 2020 using Mattel brands."


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