Along with our brand-new website, we also have a brand-new element included in all of our packages: neva<>codes. In a nutshell, kids will learn the basics of computer programming through fun and engaging coding missions based on our adventure books.
We’ve been getting a bunch of questions about what’s involved, so here’s a special FAQ edition to explain everything.
Q: Who is Neva?
Neva is Crameye Junker’s best friend and is one of the main characters in our adventure books. She is the resident tech genius who often uses her abilities to get them out of trouble and save the day. She is no-nonsense, scary smart, and is the focus that balances Crameye’s wonder. As Crameye advises: “It’s just best to listen to her. Saves so much time.”
We are proud to have Neva front and center here, and proud to encourage girls to code.
Q: How was it created?
We were approached by CodeSpeak Labs to create this product, and the result is a wonderful 21st Century Learning 1-2 punch. They provided the coding expertise while we provided the text and original images to use for the missions.
They are in California and we are in Taiwan, so this endeavor involved hours and hours of online meetings over a year as we made the missions more fun and pushed each other to make them perfect. It helped that The Adventurous Mailbox had zero background in coding before creating this. This allowed us to write the book from the kids’ perspective, as well as to write it to be both easily understood and to teach as it is used.
Q: What’s involved?
The neva<>codes manual has eight major missions with mini-missions sprinkled throughout. The missions progress in complexity, each teaching a new aspect of coding. Kids will need to download files from our online portal, and they will also need to create a free account on Scratch (MIT’s coding language for kids).
We also reinforce the cultural lessons in our adventure books throughout this coding manual. For example, for the Taiwan mission, kids will be able to record their own Chinese to use. For Tanzania, kids will create their own quiz about the Serengeti, while in Peru they will create a flash memory game based on the Nasca Lines.
Q: Do I need to be a computer genius?
Not at all! In fact, we wrote the book to teach as it goes. Plus, we have resources in place if kids get stuck. For starters, we provide a link to finished projects where they can check their work against ours (or rather Neva’s). We also have a section of our forums in Crameye’s World dedicated to neva<>codes. There, kids will be able to ask for advice, share and receive tips, or even show off their work.
Q: Is it easy?
The manual is very approachable at the beginning, but the later missions are challenging. When making the missions, The Adventurous Mailbox side were a bunch of big softies, suggesting we make the missions much easier. CodeSpeak Labs, however, argued that challenge is good and that a little bit of struggle makes for a much more profound experience when success is achieved. So, listening to the self-proclaimed Tiger Mom on the CodeSpeak Labs side, we kept the challenging aspect in.
Q: Is it fun?
Since the missions are challenging, we definitely wanted to make them fun. Most of the missions involve making games, and the games are anything but normal. For example, in the Peru mission, they will make a game to help a llama avoid falling Giant Lake Titicaca frogs. For Brazil, they will make a game where the player must snatch a hat off the head of a mythical figure in changing scenes around Rio. In other challenges, like for Thailand and Greece, kids will have to inject a bit of their own creativity to finish the missions. Throughout, humor is encouraged.
The book was also written in an approachable, clearly spoken, and often sarcastic voice (reflecting Neva’s personality) so reading it feels like you are being spoken to by a friend.
Q: How do I get it?
Only here! neva<>codes is only available from The Adventurous Mailbox. It is a core component of every package we sell.