Linked by Kroc Camen on Mon 21st Jun 2010 19:49 UTC
General Development "For three years [my] son Ben, and I have engaged in a quixotic but determined quest: We've searched for a simple and straightforward way to get the introductory programming language BASIC to run on either my Mac or my PC. Why on Earth would we want to do that, in an era of glossy animation-rendering engines, game-design ogres and sophisticated avatar worlds? Because if you want to give young students a grounding in how computers actually work, there's still nothing better than a little experience at line-by-line programming." Looking beyond the immediate fear-inducing acronym BASIC, this article delves deeply into what it means to simply be in control--via a basic understanding of under the hood--of your own computer, and how our whiz-bang world of technology today is failing to bestow this understanding on this generation of would-be hackers.
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meta programming to the rescue
by kristoph on Mon 21st Jun 2010 23:39 UTC
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You can create 'basic' syntax using a language that facilitates meta programing such as Ruby.

I did this for a couple of boys who are friends of the family and I plan to expand it to help my daughter not just to understand programing but also with math and logic in general.

The nice thing about this is that you can create something that is just as simple as basic but is much more pleasant and expressive for a child to use.

So, for example, rather then ...

print 'hello world!'

... you can offer ...

draw 'hello world!'

Which would draw it in a kid friendly font in the middle of a canvas. Also works great for geometric shapes and progresses nicely to parameters for colors, size, position, stroke then on to co-ordinate systems etc.

So you can do all sort of fun stuff without complexity.


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