30 April 2006

Computer programming for kids

Pre-parent hacker Brian (baby due in July) wanted to share something with the "other geek parents out there":

I am a computer programmer by trade, and have often thought about how daunting it might be to teach my children “what daddy does." http://www.kidsprogramminglanguage.com/ has a programming environment designed specifically for kids that is packed with tons of tutorials and samples that would make it easy for even the non-programmer parent or teacher to get kids interested in computer programming. The interface is super easy to use, and in two clicks a child can play a game of pong before looking under the hood.

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A guy I know taught his daughter Scheme when she was in fourth grade. I think that I'd probably start with Squeak.

I was planning on Logo, as antique as it seems today, it has a lot of power and is fairly easy to teach the basics to kids. I had a job one summer in the 80's teaching it to kids at a (corrupt and ineptly run) inner city daycare. In spite of the fact that I only had one computer for 15 kids some of them learned a lot from the experience.

http://el.media.mit.edu/Logo-foundation/

http://www.softronix.com/logo.html

http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~bh/

Nick, you beat me too it! I was going to say "what's wrong with Logo?" I never programmed in it, but my sister was driving turtles all over the screen in Logo at age 5. And there's always the Logo driven lego robot sell....

I'm one of the guys working on KPL - thanks for blogging about it! We like logo, and tip our hats to it, and Seymour Papert, and everyone who worked on it over the years. But if I may, I'd like to point out that Logo is 30 years old now, and computers and software have changed a lot since then. :) And KPL is, after all, free - so even if you think you'll use Squeak or Logo or Alice, why not download KPL and take a look as part making of your decision? :)

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