Saturday, July 18, 2009
Programming for Kids
This summer we enrolled Nicole in a Programming for Kids 4 day camp for 9 to 13 years old.
It was really cool, I loved the way teachers framed it.
What they did is give them tons of different tools in a way that each kid could find what was more appealing to them.
They started with the old logo turtle, a classic. It's great, it gives the kid the clear concept of commanding the computer to do something and right away seeing the results. UC Berkley Logo. Download at: http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/~bh/
Next they went through Just Basic, I guess just so kids know how yucky programming can get ;) Download at: http://justbasic.com/
Then, they explored Cow Maze, a german web based game that teaches kids to think like a computer. In Nicole's words "addictive".
The Second day they got to the star of the course: scratch! This MIT created software and web community is the coolest tool for kids to do real programming that feels like a game. The hackability of the community makes it very powerful as they can download projects from other kids, remix them and upload them. Inspiring!!
Later on the class they explored Alice which didn't totally do it for Nicole ... The teachers were so cool as to mention Randy Paulsch's Last Lecture (to parents) as he was a part of the Alice's team.
Last day of class they showed the kids StarLogo TNG and Greenfoot, I guess those were a little on top of my daughter's head at this time. This tool is best suited for kids in the 13 to 16 age range.
Also, they explored linerider.com and fantasticcontraption.com.
All in all, a great experience and a great introduction to programming!!