It’s not just programming skills that will lead to the future!
One step closer for children to know the “fun of team development”
This time, we interviewed Yasuhiro Ishibashi, founder and CEO of our company, about his thoughts on development and prospects.
What is Progummy?
Progummy is the industry’s first visual programming app to feature co-editing that allows multiple people to edit at the same time. Multiple people can program in real-time, and the completed program and game can be played by everyone. Because you program by combining blocks on the screen, you are not bound by a specific language so you can enjoy learning the basic thinking of programming.
Engineer dad taught his son programming!
- Please tell us what led you to develop “Progummy”?
I taught programming when my son was 4 years old. I was an engineer myself, so I wanted to get my kids exposed to programming from an early age.
At that time, I used “Scratch”. Scratch is the world’s largest children’s programming development environment, developed by the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). I thought it was just right for children because you can learn programming with intuitive operation, like assembling a block on a computer screen. It is used in more than 200 countries and is a standard environment even globally.
So I decided to put my son on my lap and teach him programming. When two people are using one keyboard and mouse, it is very difficult to operate. Even if the parents want to support them, the son wants to manipulate them by saying, “I will do it myself!” and will not let go.
- Children indeed want to do everything by themselves, don’t they?
That’s right. So I thought, “Why doesn’t Scratch have the ability to collaborate?” With co-authoring capabilities, you can also support your child from another computer or create one project with them.
I’ve tried to look for a visual programming tool that parents and children can edit collaboratively, but it doesn’t exist. I also saw that there are people on the Internet who were looking for the same, and I felt that there was a demand for “visual programming that can be co-edited”.
And what we developed was “Progummy”. Currently, there is no other visual programming tool than Progummy that allows you to co-edit in real-time.
- Why did you come up with the idea of “co-editing”?
I’ve always liked services like Google Docs that allow real-time collaboration, and even at work, I used an environment where multiple people can develop on the cloud and use a whiteboard that can be shared online.
When multiple people do the same work for the same purpose, it is efficient and it is also fun to watch the other person’s work by saying, “Am I trying to do something like this?” or “Let’s do this myself.”
Since I was a student, I have been interested in initiatives to solve problems through design thinking, and I participated in workshops and hackathons. I wasn’t satisfied with just participating, so I even planned my own workshops.
From that experience, I began to feel the value of working as a group. When thinking in groups of 3 or 4 people, ideas that cannot be thought of by one person may pop out in a group. It is important to spend time quietly as an individual, but there are also research results that show that the quality of a project improves when working together.
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I believe that “real-time collaboration” is a means of realizing such multi-person initiatives online.
Through the use of Progummy, we want children to have the experience that “it is more fun to make it together”. It’s enjoyable for kids to study and play games with their friends.
By the way, the origin of the name Progummy comes from the word “gummy” which in programming language it means that “programming can be done in pairs and threesomes”. We hope that the colorful and fun atmosphere will make people who are not familiar with programming feel familiar with it.
Learn the joy of working in a team through programming!
- How did you see the children use it?
Rather than programming alone, children make things in a fun and creative way. When we held an event in cooperation with a programming class, we had a group of three junior high school boys create a piece of work.
At first, we were all making it as we pleased, giving each other a little teasing, and the adults were like, “oh, this doesn’t seem to be coming together in time…” but in the end, we ended up with a very good programming piece.
Even as if they were playing, the interaction seemed to have become a kind of brainstorming. Trial and error were repeated and utilized in programming artifacts. The teacher in the programming class where I usually teach was also surprised by the results, saying, “It’s amazing, it’s well put together.”
Through programming, the children learned the joy and goodness of working in a team.
- How was the usability for the teacher?
Progummy seems to make it much easier to teach online because teachers and students can share a single development environment.
In the current situation, it is difficult to gather students in the usual classroom, so there are programming classes that have tried to switch to online. However, teaching programming online using existing services was more difficult than I thought, and some classrooms decided to cancel classes due to a feeling of disappointment.
When you teach programming online, the teacher first shares the screen pointer to show you what kind of operation you will do. When a student says, “Okay, let’s do it next,” you need to ask them to share their screen so you also have to have your students do the screen sharing operation.
Moreover, only the part that is reflected on the screen can be confirmed from the teacher’s point of view. “Can you scroll up a little more?” or “can you go to another sprite?” it takes time and effort to instruct them.
Even when a program doesn’t work as intended, it’s pretty tough to get your screen shared with you to look for bugs. Once you send a program that the student is creating, you have to look for bugs, it seems that it was difficult to switch to online instruction in the traditional environment.
The teacher of the programming class thankfully commented, “I felt as an inconvenient that simultaneous editing could not be done with conventional services, so I was waiting for such a service.”
- How do you improve the quality of your services?
Currently, we are strengthening the development to further improve the quality of our services. Based on customer feedback, we incorporate functions that users want to use together and more functions that make it easier to collaborate.
Progummy also runs online programming classes. By actually using Progummy as a programming teacher, I decide on the next development function while watching the situation of the students.
More fun programming experiences for kids around the world
- Please tell us about your future developments
Our vision is “more fun together.” Even if it is difficult to solve it alone if you cooperate with family, friends, and colleagues, you may be able to solve it more easily than you thought. Our goal is to “create a more convenient and enjoyable world by supporting the best collaboration.”
We will also focus on global expansion. Currently, we are receiving inquiries mainly in Europe, and we plan to expand to Southeast Asia (the Philippines and Indonesia) and other countries. We want children around the world to have a more enjoyable programming experience.
About Progummy Inc.
We developed the visual programming application “Progummy” equipped with the industry’s first collaborative editing function that can be edited simultaneously by multiple people. It also operates an online programming class using the app.
Location: Progummy, 1–22–11 Ginza, 2nd Floor, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104–0061, Japan
Founder & CEO: Yasuhiro Ishibashi
Business activities: software development and programming education business.
How do I use Progummy?
I read this article and I want to to use Progummy! If you think so, please contact us using the contact information below. First of all, you can try it for free!
Inquiries: ✉ info<at>progummy.com
We are waiting for you to contact us for programming class operators and teachers, elementary school students ~ and high school students who want to make programs with friends with visual programming, and parents who want their children to learn to program!
In addition, Progummy Co., Ltd. is looking for CxO (Engineers, Marketers, Designers, and Writers) to expand its business.
If you are interested, please contact us!