Nathalie and I started teaching our kids to program on our own without doing a whole lot of research on how other kids were being taught. I learned how to program at a very young age, largely on my own, so I never doubted that they could learn. The question is just how early to start. Having kids in the house ages 6, 8 & 9, I was confident the 8 & 9 year olds would have no problems (having started myself at age 8), but I was a little skeptical of teaching the 6-year-old. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Scratch
Teaching Kids to Program: Pong
Last time I introduced the concept of teaching kids to program. Can kids really program? Let start by skipping to the end. Click on the game on the left and play it for a bit… I can wait.
Its fun, right? Very simple but fun. Our 8 year old was at the keyboard to make this game. I was there for coaching and support, but all the design and behaviors came from the kids together and was “coded” by an 8 year old.
Programming with kids is no different that programming for a living. You need to start with a plan. It is OK, and even encouraged to diverge from the plan from the beginning, but you have to have an idea of where you want to go and you have to know where to start. In this case we set out to write the classic Pong game. We had no idea if we could do it in one session or how long it would take, but every journey begins with a step. Continue reading
Teaching Kids How to Program
When I was 8 years old (or so, my memory isn’t very good any more), my school got access to a PDP-11 computer owned by another school 3 towns away. We had 8 terminals running over a dedicated 2400 baud leased line, which gave us a whopping 300 baud connection at any given terminal. At the time I couldn’t imagine needing more than 300 baud, since that was about as fast as I could read, why would anyone need more?
Being an 8 year old kid, my primary interest was playing games. If memory serves me right, the only games available were the original Colossal Cave Adventure and a game called Skis where you had to build a business selling skis or something. Of course I wanted more. Someone handed me a copy of BASIC Computer Games and after hours of typing I was off and playing amazing games like Hunt the Wumpus! Having to type in the source code was a quick jump start to learning how to program. Continue reading