Skyward, Mid-State, CWITA partner on new book for kids

By Brandi Makuski

Stevens Point-based Skyward on Tuesday announced the release of its new book, “The Code Twins”.

The children’s book, sponsored by Mid-State Technical College and the Central Wisconsin Information Technology Alliance, introduces coding concepts to young readers of all backgrounds.

“The Code Twins” takes young readers on a coding adventure with characters Brett, Yvette, and Cody Point Two. Along the way, Brett and Yvette help code Cody Point Two, their robot friend, to learn and accomplish new tasks. Their story, told in verse, features colorful illustrations and fun experiences which demonstrate problem-solving, critical thinking, interdisciplinary learning, and more.

“This book was created around one simple question: ‘how can we build more interest in coding?’,” said Ray Ackerlund, Skyward’s chief marketing officer. “We saw a growing movement to incorporate coding in classrooms, but not enough resources to support the push in earlier age groups. ‘The Code Twins’ helps fill that gap by encouraging kids to make the transition from tech users to tech creators.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 500,000 computer science jobs were vacant in 2016. Skyward thinks that demonstrates the urgent need to build enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in all students.

“By introducing young readers to the idea of STEM and computational thinking during early childhood experiences, ‘The Code Twins’ hopes to inspire younger age groups and close the opportunity gap,” a press release from the company reads in part.

The company also hopes the book will help promote diversity in STEM fields. As of 2018, only 28 percent of computer science AP exam students were female, while only 21 percent of students were underrepresented minorities, the release said. Readers will see characters Brett and Yvette come from a biracial background, while their robot, Cody Point Two, is female.

“One of our biggest challenges as a company is finding enough developers,” said Ackerlund. “While our primary goal with this book is to build excitement for coding among kids, we are intrigued by the idea this book may inspire some kids to pursue careers in programming, which could lead them to a career at Skyward down the road.”

The new book can be downloaded via Kindle, or in PDF formats at www.skyward.com/codetwins.

Skyward’s provides administrative software to more than 2,000 public sector organizations worldwide, from small entities to statewide implementations, including the Stevens Point Area Public School District.