Dototot • Engaging Education

New Youth-Oriented Web Series Makes Computer Science Fun and Accessible

  • et cetera
  • By Jay Nielsen

A new series of videos and tutorials creates an approachable and positive learning environment for students taking their initial steps in computer science. Using puppets and animations, The Hello World Program teaches programming, web development, and information technology.

The Hello World Program is the creative collaboration of brothers Jared and JR Nielsen. Growing up in rural Utah proved to be a serendipitous opportunity for the siblings. With few neighbors and structured activities, they filled their time making puppets and short videos with their father’s camcorder. Before the Internet, they learned things through trial-and-error and visits to the library. “We taught ourselves the skills necessary to create our own media. Now we want to share what we know with the world,” says Jared. Their primary goal is to make learning computer science educational and entertaining. Says JR, “The Hello World Program is the show we wish we watched as kids.”

The curriculum is divided into four integrated categories: computer science, Linux, Python, and web development. These tools are not only free, they are rapidly gaining in popularity and provide a powerful foundation for any to student to build upon. The host of the series, Unique ID, introduces general concepts in computer science; super friends Adelie the penguin and Aramis the gnu lead young heroes on adventures through the Linux operating system; Daisy the fox guides viewers through the foundational language of the World Wide Web, HTML; and a knot of pythons take a completely different approach to teaching code with humorous sketches inspired by Monty Python.

Not everyone needs to be a computer scientist, but every computer user should understand the basics. The Hello World Program proves that it can be fun. The Nielsen brothers also provide tutorials on all aspects of their media production, from puppet-making to video editing, on their parent-company site, According to the brothers, “Our goal is to empower young people to make their own media and engage critically with contemporary advances in technology.”


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