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  1. goodlun is online now
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    Posted On:
    1/30/2014 3:58pm

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    Teaching kids to programing Structure

    So for a short while now I have been on a mission to get my 8 year old more into the deeper end of things computer related. We have played around with Morse Code and Cryptography cool stuff at
    www.nsa.gov/kids/home.shtml
    we have the C-Jump programing board game
    http://c-jump.com/
    but by far the coolest thing we have found that is nice and free is
    http://scratch.mit.edu/
    Its simple block programing but its really great much better than the Turtel Graphics of our day
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle_graphics

    So my advice to all of you parents out there is to at least expose your kids to the MIT scratch site ( http://scratch.mit.edu/ ) have them follow the easy to follow tutorials
    in hopes that the take up interest in a skill that certainly will serve them well in years to come.

    Also keep an eye out for this product
    https://www.play-i.com/
    A little expensive but should be loads of fun.
  2. kamadul is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/30/2014 4:29pm


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    Quote Originally Posted by goodlun View Post
    So for a short while now I have been on a mission to get my 8 year old more into the deeper end of things computer related. We have played around with Morse Code and Cryptography cool stuff at
    www.nsa.gov/kids/home.shtml
    we have the C-Jump programing board game
    http://c-jump.com/
    but by far the coolest thing we have found that is nice and free is
    http://scratch.mit.edu/
    Its simple block programing but its really great much better than the Turtel Graphics of our day
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle_graphics

    So my advice to all of you parents out there is to at least expose your kids to the MIT scratch site ( http://scratch.mit.edu/ ) have them follow the easy to follow tutorials
    in hopes that the take up interest in a skill that certainly will serve them well in years to come.

    Also keep an eye out for this product
    https://www.play-i.com/
    A little expensive but should be loads of fun.

    What do you think about the Raspberry Pi?
  3. goodlun is online now
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    Posted On:
    1/30/2014 4:51pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by kamadul View Post
    What do you think about the Raspberry Pi?
    meh I have one, they are not quite as cheap people make them out to be.
    Once you add in all the extra little cost. Case, Power Supply, Memory card.

    They are great for teaching Linux but honestly that all that awesome for teaching programming.

    I also don't think most kids will be interested in staring at the command line for the amount of time a good Raspberry Pi project will take them.

    If you want something physical that teaches programming there are some really cool things out there.

    I would tend to stick to something GUI for younger kids so something that can be done with block programing(visual) is a good start at least until they reach the limits of what can be done with it. At that point they very well may care enough to dive deeper.

    Honestly I would focus more on cool electronics projects for kids where you use a mixture of block programming and some embedded C. Teaches the same skills but are a lot more fun and you have a physical toy to play with afterwords.

    Best block programing tool I have found is this
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/ardublock/

    that plus this
    https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11494
    equals one happy kid. Heck if they don't get into it at least you will have some fun to.

    However at the end of the day my best recomendation is to start them with
    http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/edit...bar=getStarted
    They can within a few hours start making cool little animations and some very simple games. Once they sort of have a handle on that then I would look to move on to something deeper.
  4. Permalost is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/30/2014 5:05pm

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    I think Alice may be a good program for kids to learn some basics of programming.
  5. goodlun is online now
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    Posted On:
    1/30/2014 5:20pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Permalost View Post
    I think Alice may be a good program for kids to learn some basics of programming.
    Excellent! This is a really good option as well. It is a bit more complex than the mit site but it is a LOT more powerful. It is probably a better choice for an older child.

    I highly recomend any parents reading this thread to take a look at the what is alice video
    at there site http://www.alice.org/index.php?page=.../what_is_alice
  6. killface is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/30/2014 6:01pm


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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I was going to recommend scratch, glad you already found it.

    Instead of an Raspberry, I would recommend looking at Arduino related products.
    Though maybe when he is a bit older.
    Maybe the good old Lego robotics stuff, if he is into that.

    I would not recommend to go for the big ugly languages like C and Java. You don't want to scare him away.

    When he get ready for real languages maybe some good-old Basic, Forth (yes I am serious, it is fun and teaches important concepts) and if he needs more real world Lua or Python (the first is simpler and better designed but you can not go wrong with any of them).

    Here is a good post: http://prog21.dadgum.com/93.html
    Really shut up about OOP for now, though that should be common sense.

    Also don't let him only do programming, Tux paint is a great paint program. Later he can tinker with some map editor from his favorite game and stuff like that.
  7. W. Rabbit is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/30/2014 6:45pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Kids love Minecraft, and Minecraft is a great way to learn about modular coding, Java, packaging code, and a whole range of other neat stuff.

    MC is really popular with that age group today, and most kids just play the game but if you have a coder kid and they are into MC, pop open the hood (minecraft.jar etc) and see where it takes them. Learning to code can be fun, but learning to hack one of your favorite games can take you to a whole other level of understanding.

    My ten year old turned into a Minecraft modding enthusiast after he asked me to mod the game for him. Within a month, he had somehow learned to mod Half Life and Half Life 2 on his own, and learned the console command language by watching Youtube videos.

    I walked into my wife's office the other day to find him typing gamemode commands into the HL2 console to enable Steam mods he had subscribed to using my Steam login and password, which I had given him the day before so he could download and install GMOD, a physics sandbox for HL2.

    At ten, I was learning BASIC on a C64.

    At ten, I think his kid will be a partial cyborg.
    Last edited by W. Rabbit; 1/30/2014 6:49pm at .
  8. kamadul is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/30/2014 9:09pm


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    Quote Originally Posted by goodlun View Post
    meh I have one, they are not quite as cheap people make them out to be.
    Once you add in all the extra little cost. Case, Power Supply, Memory card.

    They are great for teaching Linux but honestly that all that awesome for teaching programming.

    I also don't think most kids will be interested in staring at the command line for the amount of time a good Raspberry Pi project will take them.

    If you want something physical that teaches programming there are some really cool things out there.

    I would tend to stick to something GUI for younger kids so something that can be done with block programing(visual) is a good start at least until they reach the limits of what can be done with it. At that point they very well may care enough to dive deeper.

    Honestly I would focus more on cool electronics projects for kids where you use a mixture of block programming and some embedded C. Teaches the same skills but are a lot more fun and you have a physical toy to play with afterwords.

    Best block programing tool I have found is this
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/ardublock/

    that plus this
    https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11494
    equals one happy kid. Heck if they don't get into it at least you will have some fun to.

    However at the end of the day my best recomendation is to start them with
    http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/edit...bar=getStarted
    They can within a few hours start making cool little animations and some very simple games. Once they sort of have a handle on that then I would look to move on to something deeper.
    Thanks for the tips. I'm always looking for something for my nephews. Judging from their interests, those boys are most likely going to be future engineers. They drive my sister nuts by taking apart anything mechanical in the house to see how it works. Toilets, washing machines, computers. One of these days they'll figure out how to put stuff back together.
  9. Nefron is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/01/2014 4:03pm


     

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    *Sigh* Maybe I should try these on my first year college students.
  10. goodlun is online now
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    Posted On:
    2/01/2014 6:33pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nefron View Post
    *Sigh* Maybe I should try these on my first year college students.
    Scratch is nice because its all web interface so they have access to to their work anywhere with an internet connection.

    Alice is an excellent choice for college kids but they do have to install it.

    I think if I where to do an intro to programming class for college age students I would maybe do the 1st week of Scratch then move onto Alice.

    You could do quite a nice semester long Alice project that covers all the Object oriented stuff.
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