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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RE: meta programming to the rescue
by frytvm on Tue 22nd Jun 2010 01:05 UTC in reply to "meta programming to the rescue"
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Yeah, as far as a kid friendliness, it's probably the library that's more important than the language in many respects. As long as the language doesn't require too much deep conceptual understanding (5 year olds don't typically know algebra or what a mathematical function is, and especially won't understand complex type-systems very well), any python/ruby/smalltalk/etc. could fill the gap with a nice kid-centric library (you can create a draw(string) method in pretty much any imperative language).

As far as OOP goes, I don't think it's that important for kids to start off with object-orientation necessarily, as long as there are some form of data structure capability available, for kids to learn as they mature (like C's struct). Trying to fit everything into arrays as if they are the only data structure is a waste of time at some point.

Admittedly, for really young people a graphical system like scratch might be a better introduction than a normal imperative language, because kids 1) don't need to understand variables/basic algebra at all and 2) don't need to visualize the results of programs while modifying them as much (in scratch, all of the objects remain on-screen in their position once you stop the program, instead of your program window disappearing).

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