About this project
Boolean Box is a self-contained computer engineering kit for girls (and boys), designed for ages 8 and up.
At our startup, Boolean Girl, we’ve taught hundreds of girls in our camps and classes to code using these simple, fun kits. As soon as they got their hands on them, they asked for kits of their own, and the Boolean Box was born.
We want to extend our program to more girls. Please make a pledge to buy the Boolean Box for the Boolean Girl in your life, or to help fund the expansion of Boolean Girl nationwide.
Quite simply, we want every opportunity to be available to every child, and right now girls and women are underrepresented in tech (more on that at the bottom of the page). We want to get girls inspired early, so they’ll have more options as they grow.
We’re parents to young kids, and our company got its start teaching girls from the families in our neighborhood. We paid attention to what the girls liked and didn’t, and we slowly refined our content as we taught larger and larger groups. Since those early days, we’ve taught hundreds of girls in camps and schools, and we’ve found a couple of broad themes: girls tend to like projects that have a story, they tend to gravitate toward collaborative work, and they tend to be less interested in skill-based video games like ping pong. So we built the teaching content for Boolean Box around those interests. (Of course, every girl is unique, and if she wants to build and play ping pong on a Boolean Box, she can do that.)
We know the content appeals to girls, because we’ve seen it. Instead of the traditional computing environment in which girls are opting out, our girls opt in. And ask for more.
That’s why we have countless projects on our website available to users of the Boolean Box. Unlike so many others, this toy grows with a child, because there are plenty of ideas for what to build next.
The Boolean Box computer kit comes preloaded with software for learning coding. It’s got a mouse and a keyboard, so your kids don't have to borrow yours.
It is easy and fun to build your own computer. Open the box, connect it to your HDMI-capable TV, and it is ready to use. It is designed for children 8 and up to build without help. And, there’s no internet connection required.
It’s simple to use and fun, we promise! Girls can learn coding, build electronics, and more. They can create their own projects or use the projects on the Boolean Girl website, www.booleangirl.org (free with the purchase of a Boolean Box).
The kit contains a Raspberry Pi, a basic computer built for learning how to code, and comes with the curriculum we have used to teach hundreds of girls in our camps and classes.
Over the past 2 years, we have built 60 of these kits and have used them to teach over 400 girls during our classes. The girls love them and ask to take them home, so we built a prototype and are ready to manufacture it for girls around the world.
So that’s where you come in, dear Kickstarters. To produce the Boolean Box, we need to reach minimum order levels with our manufacturers. As soon as we get enough orders, we’re ready to hit the “go” button and begin producing kits, just in time for the HOLIDAYS. Join the team, support our cause, and make a pledge, so we can get these in the hands of girls around the world.
Do you have a kid in your life who could use some tech inspiration? The Boolean Box may be just the thing… and it makes a great holiday gift.
As soon as we get the first 300 ordered, we will begin production and ship them off. We’ve timed the Kickstarter so we can deliver the first 500 by December 15, just in time for the holidays.
The best way you can help is to pledge support and earn rewards, like a Boolean Box, for your daughter, granddaughter, niece, or any other child you want to inspire... right on time for a HOLIDAY SEASON filled with new ideas and fun projects.
Another way you can help is to spread the word. Go to booleangirl.org/social to get text for a sample email to friends.
Now you might be thinking....
The Boolean Box contains everything a girl (or boy) needs to code in Scratch or Python and complete simple circuitry tasks, such as the game controller project. Specifically, the Boolean Box contains:
1 - A Raspberry Pi Model 3 with 1 GB Ram and a 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core processor
2 - Wireless keyboard and mouse
3 - Custom Case
4 - Power supply
5 - Pi GPIO pin to breadboard connector
6 - Breadboard for building electronics projects
7 - Wires
8 - Resistors
9 - Buttons
10 - Lights
11 - 8 GB SD card with the Raspian OS and tons of software including Scratch, Python, and Minecraft
12 - HDMI cable to use a TV as your monitor
(Not shown - eBook and online access to the Boolean Girl website and all the inspiring projects.)
We use Raspberry Pi’s in our classes, and we created the Boolean Box on top of the Raspberry Pi, so we could share with girls all the great things the Raspberry Pi Foundation (www.raspberrypi.org) and the Pi community can offer girls.
The Boolean Box comes preloaded with software for learning coding. You will learn to code in languages called Scratch and Python.
Scratch is a great introductory programming language developed at MIT in which you use blocks to build interactive stories, animated videos, puzzles and games. If you can point and click, you can code in Scratch. It’s the perfect way to introduce kids to coding concepts.
Python is an advanced programming language used around the world in corporate, academic, and philanthropic settings. It was designed to teach kids coding, but it caught on throughout the tech world, because it’s powerful -- it was even used to create Instagram.
The Raspberry Pi allows girls to connect their code to the real world. They can BUILD things with electrical circuits and control them with the code they write. A child can write a simple game program in Scratch or Python, then build her own game controller to play the game. The kit comes with everything you need to complete cool projects, like the parent detector or a music player. And what if you want to build a robot? You can do that with a Boolean Box, simply by adding a few parts.
Yes, we offer the Boolean Girl Bundle, which includes 12 Boolean Box kits. It also groups the projects and curriculum we’ve created into a single bundle to provide an “open and play” option for any school, community center, home-school organization, or even a neighborhood group. The Boolean Girl Bundle offers an economical method to introduce computer science fundamentals to girls in underserved communities. Our straightforward Scratch coding projects and pre-configured and assembled Raspberry Pi kits make it easy for even nontechnical instructors to lead the programs.
The Boolean Girl Bundle includes: 12 Raspberry Pi kits, the supplemental parts kit (used in the electronics projects), and instructor aids (including 50 teaching blocks, instructor’s guide and 12 free user accounts for access to the website). This reward also includes portable monitors and battery packs so you can teach the class anywhere.
First, we are parents and started this project, because we wanted to find ways to encourage and inspire girls 8 to 14. We picked this age range, because there are many programs for girls age 14 and up, but few that bridge the gab between early interest in technology and the availability of computer classes later on.
As a team, we've built and shipped complicated hardware and software products before, but never for such a meaningful purpose. We are software developers, product managers, and even have experience working for non-profits.
After more than two years of work, we are excited to deliver Boolean Boxes in time for the 2016 holidays (for the first 500 orders shipping to the US).
The USB drive displays our logo and is perfect for storing your projects. We use them in class, so the girls can take their programs home.
The Smart Girls Code t-shirts look like this:
The Details of the Gender Gap in Tech:
In the United States, the demand for individuals trained and educated in computer technology is skyrocketing. At the same time, women are opting out of computer science education and careers at an alarming rate.
This Phenomenon Has Two Key Consequences:
Women are losing out on lucrative career opportunities:
In 2012, the median annual income of software developers in the U.S. was $82,732. By opting out of careers in the computer sciences, women are removing themselves from a financially-rewarding career path.
The American computer science industry is missing the valuable contributions of half of the population:
The U.S. computer science field is losing the innovative energy of American women. Studies show that gender-diverse teams are more creative, better at problem-solving and more productive. Tech companies with the highest representation of women in management teams reported increased sales revenue, more customers and greater profits. Additionally, raising the number of women in IT careers reduces isolation, as well as provides mentors for girls and young women as they begin their studies.
Support our mission at Boolean Girl. Change the curve.
All statistics taken from: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/2013/tables.cfm
The Scratch Cat and block images used with permission of MIT. Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. It is available for free at http://scratch.mit.edu. Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. It is available for free at http://scratch.mit.edu.
Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/booleangirl/
Interact with us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BooleanGirlProj
Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/booleangirl/
Email us: Info@BooleanGirl.org
Visit our website: http://www.booleangirl.org
Risks and challenges
We have built about 60 Boolean Box kits and tested them in our camps with about 400 girls. We looked at what worked, what didn’t, and we designed a kit optimized for teaching girls. We know the kits work, and the girls love them. Building them in small quantities is very expensive, so we need this Kickstarter to productize these kits and hit minimum order levels.
As a team, we've built and shipped complicated hardware and software products before, but never for such a meaningful purpose. We've worked with our suppliers for two years. We have the manufacturer ready to go. We just need to know who to ship the Boolean Boxes to.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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