kids programming

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/kt
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kids programming

Post by /kt » Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:36 am

Way back, around 1984 or 85, I purchased a Commodore 64. I was programming in FORTRAN at that time but the BASIC in the C64 was perfect for teaching programming fundamentals to my daughter. Now, her son and daughter are to the age that I would like to teach them about computer programming. I’ve been away from programming for a while and recently re-looked at BASIC. Everything I’ve seen is way too complicated for little kids. Do you know of any simple language, that runs on a PC, that I could use?

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Sambuchi
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Post by Sambuchi » Tue Dec 11, 2007 6:53 am

my suggestion would be this...
http://mindstorms.lego.com/

Its called lego mindstorm. GREAT FOR KIDS! http://mindstorms.lego.com/Overview/NXT_Software.aspx

toddkrein
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Post by toddkrein » Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:16 am

http://scratch.mit.edu/

Drag-n-drop, graphical. My 9 year old taught herself in 15 minutes. and did a school project. Lots of other examples done by kids.

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Clyde Crashkop
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Post by Clyde Crashkop » Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:46 am

Old DOS Qbasic is almost the same as the C64 and is free. There should be plenty of info and sample programs on the internet. I still use GW Basic for quickies and LPT1 I/O but Q basic has a better GUI with mouse and cut / paste. If you put a shortcut to it on your desktop, you would almost think it’s a windows program. The only problem with basic back then was that it was slow. With multi-gigahertz computers, it isn’t slow any more. I feel sorry for anyone trying to learn programming now and think a lot of them would get discouraged early. You have to know a whole lot before you can do anything as opposed to:
10 PRINT â€

basicxman
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Post by basicxman » Sat Apr 05, 2008 7:09 pm

hacketyhack.net or just google Hackety Hack, great program, interactivly teaches kids ruby...free to :D

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CeaSaR
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Post by CeaSaR » Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:48 am

basicxman,

I have just searched for Hackety Hack to no avial. All links are gone
("Internet Explorer Could Not Find Page"). Any idea where one might find it?

CeaSaR
Hey, what do I know?

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jaem
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Post by jaem » Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:45 pm

Sambuchi wrote:my suggestion would be this...
http://mindstorms.lego.com/

Its called lego mindstorm. GREAT FOR KIDS! http://mindstorms.lego.com/Overview/NXT_Software.aspx
I would highly recommend this too (although I've only tried the previous version) One of the nice things about the Mindstorms system for your purposes is that your kids can start out with the graphical programming software with basic robots, but when they get a bit older, they can progress to more advanced, text-based languages with the same system, and no further investment. I haven't tried the child-oriented programming languages from MIT and others, but most of what I've seen seemed quite simplistic (which is good to start) without offering the migration to "real world" languages. I personally learned on QuickBASIC, and while I don't regret it too much, there are probably much better and more modern alternatives now. IMHO, you should stay away from BASIC if you have better options, but, that said, it is "basic" to learn...
If you already have Lego (the modern, "studless"-style technic sets particularly), and you're interested in getting into Mindstorms, you may be able to purchase just the electronics + whatever else you need to get going from
http://bricklink.com. Depending on what you're looking for, it may not always be cheaper, but you can literally find almost anything you could want there, new or used.

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Post by psycho » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:06 pm

This is kinda advanced but I plan on teaching my son Java. If you want something simpler try Visual Basic from MS. I believe they have a free version.

The reason I chose Java (for now) is it's power and portability. I could teach him C, Pascal, Asm, Basic or Java (I know them all) but, I picked Java to teach him because he likes playing the midlets on my phone :) And, he sees me working on Java apps all the time. He just turned 7 so he has a little while to go...

Kevin

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jaem
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Post by jaem » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:53 pm

psycho wrote:If you want something simpler try Visual Basic from MS. I believe they have a free version.
--SNIP--
I would personally advise against that. I used to use Visual Basic several years ago, and although it was easy to learn, it's really not very well designed, IMHO. When it became .NET-ified, it became a bit better, but there are still much more useful (and much more used!) languages out there. Besides, using VB, even though there's a "free" version, locks you into relying on Microsoft for everything. I'm not bashing MS (although I'll admit that I'm not a big fan), but if you can find something cross-platform, then at least they have the choice later of which OS and development software to use, without having to throw away their knowledge. Since they're young, I think you'd be best to find something basic that lets them feel like they're doing something cool, while still teaching them the principles behind the task (e.g. logical/algorithmic thought processes, programming concepts such as loops, variables, etc.). Then when they're older, introduce them to something like Java or C/C++.

I wasn't really able to get across what I was trying to say perfectly, since half of my tired brain was devoted to rephrasing it to make my point while not coming across as an MS-hating troll (which I'm not!). Please tell me if I made no sense :P

EDIT: if you're interested in teaching them Java, there is this. I haven't looked at it though, so I can't attest to its quality

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Post by psycho » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:17 am

Oh... I didn't mean to say that VB is a great language. It is easy but, from what I remember, there is no way to make a DLL or a driver with it. Also, no inline asm (all of which I need). So, when I need to make an executable (exe/dll...) I use delphi or C++. But for every day things, Java is great. The only reason I want to start out my kid with Java is that I know it well and I will be teaching him.

As for the free part, you can get a free version of Delphi, Visual C, etc. It all comes down to choice. I personally like CodeGear's (formerly Borland) compilers. MS's are OK, but...

And, BTW, there is nothing wrong with blasting MS every now and then... Buggy releases, bloatware - the list goes on.


Also, that link looks pretty nice but, part 3 is not finished yet :(

Kevin

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jaem
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Post by jaem » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:50 am

psycho wrote:And, BTW, there is nothing wrong with blasting MS every now and then... Buggy releases, bloatware - the list goes on.
Well, I agree, and there's nothing wrong per se, but with people already trolling Mac vs. Win all over the place, I try not to throw Linux into the mix, especially with a lot of people viewing us as "elitists". That said, while I don't have much against MS products (except Vista *shudder*), I dislike the fact that people get locked into it. I respect everyone's choices in these matters -- but I want them to have a choice. That's why I wouldn't recommend teaching kids a language controlled by, and specific to, one vendor only. When I switched to Linux a year ago, I suddenly realized that the better part of my programming knowledge was now next to useless.
Anyhow, that discussion is getting off-topic fast... my apologies to the OP

A friend of mine recommended Python. I haven't used it to any extent (ok, the only time I used it was helping a friend in a different course for an hour), but from what I've seen, it's not that bad. As the OP didn't mention the ages of the kids, it's hard to say exactly what would be appropriate, but Python would likely be a good bridge between something kid-oriented, like Mindstorms and that MIT program, and a more advanced language like Java or C/C++. As I said (or tried to) before, go in stages - if their young, teach them how to think the right way, and then move on to more advanced concepts as they get older.

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Re: kids programming

Post by riki » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:40 pm

Some languages I would not touch with a bargepole.These include:

E-block flowchart
Picaxe basic
Any basic
Linux
HTML
Abuntu


My repertoire includes PIC 18 C and Delphi and I can achieve most things for PC GUI and embedded controller projects.
(I was brought up with Turbo Pascal and Z80/8031/8088)

Many years ago I used Basic and 6502 assembler for the BBC micro and I really miss the 8 bit user port.!

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