Love Letters for Computers is a ten part YouTube series intended for primary school educators, covering the basics of computer science. But what makes it a love letter?
For the last five years I’ve been traveling around the world and working with primary school teachers from Melbourne to Tokyo, from New York to Tbilisi, helping them see the world of computer science the way I see it: as something beautiful, lovable and playful. I wanted to remind teachers how much technology can be about passion, people and their big ideas. And I wanted everything to look and feel like you just fell into a Wes Anderson or Sophia Coppola film.
A new perspective to the world
Teaching computer science in primary school is not only about coding. It’s about developing a love of learning and offering widely-applicable, long-term ideas. A way of thinking that provides a new perspective to the world. And that’s what computer science does.
We shouldn’t teach computer science only because it’s useful, but because it’s interesting and intensely creative. Computer science blends intellectual pleasure of reason and logic with the practicality of engineering. It blends the beauty of arts with the change-the-world ethos of social sciences.
The big luminaries of computing like Claude Shannon and Ada Lovelace, blended together philosophy and math and crafts to create modern computers. For the future of computing, we need students to combine their interest in human brains, oboe playing or nature with computer science to take the field as well as the world forward.
And teachers, they play a huge role in changing the ideas of children around computer science.
After this series, I hope more teachers start to think about computer science as another tool they can use to express their ideas, just like crayons, posters or play-doh.
1,5 years ago I got grant funding from Dubai World Expo Live to realise this series. The videos cover things like hardware, I/O systems, networks, machine learning as well as diversity & equity. The website includes 28 classroom worksheets, a teacher journal with prompts to reflect your learning and other resources to support professional development.
Little bit of love
And here we are, ready to launch.
I hope the series finds its audience, the curious, creative primary school teachers.
I hope teachers will use it for professional development, parents for educating themselves about computer science and policymakers to get a sense of what computer science is beyond coding.
And finally. I hope for a generation of children that see computer science as playful, fun, thoughtful — a field that’s created with a little bit of, well, love. 💌
Time for thank you’s
Aya, for the exquisite eye and joy you brought to the student and teacher materials.
Dubai Expo Live for setting the vision and helping me realise it.
Herttoniemi Elementary School, Helsinki English School and Helsinki International School for playtesting and supporting us in casting. Martta, Eva, Ebba and Ahti for art production and a fun Saturday of play.
The kids: Luna, Lamin, Pratyush, Pierce, Sarah and Eila. I’ll never forget my 33rd birthday with you, the Nyancat cake and the magical silence that fell for the last shot of the day.
Lagstad school museum for the beautiful, old premises to showcase modern technology. Marimekko and Huawei for providing props!
Lullatone, for creating a world of sound that suits us perfectly. I hope we get to work more in the future.
Otto, for getting me over a gigantic writers block.
Saku, for early input and pushing me to the right direction (Dubai!)
All the thousands of teachers I’ve met around the world in the last year or so in Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Denmark, Singapore, US, Norway, Georgia, Thailand, Mexico and Japan.
Mom & Dad, for reporting, calculating, researching and supporting your stubborn daughter through ups and downs.