Last August, Twilio launched its TwilioQuest 3 game to teach developers how to code for its cloud communications software. It found from experience that making the training game-like, or gamified, was much more effective for real learning. And now the company is introducing an update that is geared toward young students, with the goal of introducing middle school and high school students to coding.
The idea is maximum accessibility, given how many students and parents need virtual learning content right now with schools shut down. Twilio introduced a new video, dubbed Young Operator School, that students can access live or after the fact.
The theme of the new level is “capture the flag.” This mission is designed for students with no coding background and it starts one step before learning to code. The level focuses on “learning to use your computer like a developer,” which is a precondition for being able to learn code as a professional.
The new level works like this: In a virtual reality environment, the player will solve programming and environmental puzzles to retrieve flags set up by trainers in the TwilioQuest program. It’s a simulation to help new players hone fundamental skills like using command line interfaces, text editors, and other “developer computer literacy” skills. Once the level is complete, players are set up to dive into the rest of the game.
There’s no headset or special equipment required. The game can be downloaded and played on a standard desktop or laptop. Students can register for the introductory lesson here. The team built this in just over a week, as more schools shut down and it became clear that virtual education content could be helpful.
You can watch someone play TwilioQuest on Twitch here. The new mission includes four objectives, which a student might be able to complete in around an hour (though there is no “right” amount of time for this sort of thing).