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Programing for children?

Discussion in 'General Board' started by kate-brownhill, Nov 22, 2013.

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  1. kate-brownhill United Kingdom

    kate-brownhill Active Member

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    What is the best way of getting children interested in Programing? I have a feeling that my little boy who is 7 would really take to it. When I was at his age, I was taught BASIC by my brother and later C and C++ and I loved it. Although I never took it any further, I think it gave me a real advantage in understanding how programing and computers work throughout my career.

    Now, without giving my age away too much, BASIC was on our Commodore 16 and 64 by default, and when it came to C and C++ it was Turbo C that we used (you know, that blue screen with yellow fonts) . All fitted on a floppy disk and loaded up with no problems at all.

    Is there anything like a good BASIC emulator that we can use now with list of commands and examples of use? Any other suggestions of where to go to find good online tutorials?

    Any suggestions would be most welcome.
     
  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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  3. redbird United Kingdom

    redbird Well-Known Member

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    Kate,

    Not quite the answer you are probably looking for but https://www.codeclub.org.uk/ is worth a mention for the publicity. A friend of mine is a volunteer and passionate about it and the kids seem to love it.

    Dave
     
  4. PoshTiger United Kingdom

    PoshTiger Well-Known Member

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    Hi Kate,

    Was in the same boat with my 8 year old last year so tried the following... He didn't really take to it as he's more into stories / English, but my 5 year old girl who's a total meddler loves it.. It's all about understanding the basics of logic and iterations early doors and just letting them know that they can make computers do as they will.

    Try the following

    http://www.codecademy.com << the best first try as it gets them coding right away
    http://Alice.org
    http://scratch.mit.edu

    And of course - Lego mindstorms

    Enjoy..... :)
     
  5. seemly

    seemly Active Member

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    I read this article a little while ago, over on LifeHacker:

    How and Why to Teach Your Kids to Code

    I found it quite interesting and is something I will keep in mind when my little one is just that little bit older.

    As redbird mentions above, codeclub are quite active in many areas. They are also quite hot on looking for volunteers, so for those programmers at acorn, maybe pay it forward to the next generation.
     
  6. monaghan United Kingdom

    monaghan Moderator Staff Member

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    scratch is used in schools, so learning it now will give them a heads up in school lessons. My kids have fiddled with it (and outgrown it) and it has given them a good overview of the principles of loops and conditions. You can do some quite good programs in it and explore things like parallel tasks all in the context of a nice child friendly graphical envirnment. You can also hook it up to some of the new Lego wedo kits.

    Alternatively look at something like the PIC microcontrollers where you can introduce a bit of simple electronics while you are at it.
     
  7. chippyb United Kingdom

    chippyb Active Member

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  8. kate-brownhill United Kingdom

    kate-brownhill Active Member

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    Some excellent sites there. thanks!

    Specifically like http://www.codecademy.com. http://scratch.mit.edu is really good for teaching the concept of programing and done in such a cool way for younger kids. I'm sure he is going to love both but will report back with progress :) Thanks again.
     
  9. MikeJDS

    MikeJDS Retired Member

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    My eldest boy is also 7 and I've been looking for similar things to maybe encourage him down the coding path.

    He already uses 'scratch' & also https://www.khanacademy.org/ and he loves it.

    Most of all trying to keep things fun and thinking along similar lines for programming, I've thought about getting a Raspberry Pi http://www.raspberrypi.org/faqs
    I've also seen maybe better alternatives (only browsed) like: The BeagleBone, Arduino or Minnowboard. (a bit more expensive)
     
  10. disruptive

    disruptive Well-Known Member

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    Start with assembly....learn 'em like we used to....X types of memory addressing and learning to do it with a pencil before even going near a machine. If that's not tough enough try 'em on a punch card or paper tape with binary...should put 'em off for life.
     
  11. martin-s United Kingdom

    martin-s Well-Known Member

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    Give them a project and offer them some extra motivation for it :)
     
  12. monaghan United Kingdom

    monaghan Moderator Staff Member

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    Who needs card, tape and assembly, what's wrong with binary :) I found a picture of the 1st one I used

    [​IMG]

    Dad had this on his OU course, start them young and they will grow up into proper geeks :)
     
  13. WealdDomains United Kingdom

    WealdDomains Active Member

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    Agreed - fluency in binary and hexadecimal, ASCII and EBCDIC and one low-level and one high-level language should be mandatory for the kids (and adults) of today, with desk-checking of coding sheets to avoid wasting electricity on unnecessary CPU cycles for assembling/compiling : WYSIWYG is the eye-candy of the devil, the mere term "mark-up" betrays the triviality of the subject (even within the conceptually-sound context of generic SGMLs) and how on earth can an engineer take something seriously that includes words like "Cascading" and "Style" :)

    I think it is useful to understand the subjects and methods that the child enjoys.

    Do they love number theory (times tables etc) ?

    Do they dismantle their bicycle at the drop of a hat ?

    Do they enjoy finding out facts from (online or book) encyclopedias ?

    Do they experiment with matches and electricity ?

    In my era, school computing tended to flow from physics and electronics whereas my dislike/fear of those coupled with my love for pure mathematics (albeit with hatred of calculus) and grammar delayed my involvement in "programming" : I fear the raw circuit board nature of the naked Raspberry Pi motherboard may discourage children in the same way that I chose to wait for a pre-built ZX81 rather than trying to solder my own MK14, ZX80 or ZX81.

    Does their enjoyment of sports extend to analysing team performance ... perhaps using simple spreadsheets with pivot tables as a first step towards MySql ?

    Does their love of music extend to understanding the mathematical nature of relative frequencies and octaves ?

    Finding a link to one of their other interests (eg academic, sporting or musical) may provide a hook to truly engage them.

    PS : Would anyone else like to refer to their "green card" (mine were yellow and pink) to design some self-modifying code that runs in supervisor mode using a dynamic MVC to change a 4700 branch to a 47F0 in flight :)

    PPS : I quickly understood a, b, c and d in the context of Zilog Z80 but it took me ages to get my head around h and l :)

    David
     
  14. monaghan United Kingdom

    monaghan Moderator Staff Member

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    Ah, I remember the days of looking at the Z80 technical manuals to see how many clock cycles each instruction took and working out the optimum speed / complexity of each method - proper programming :)

    Having just enough cash to buy a ZX81, there was no money for tools like an assembler or anything grand so it was a basic hex loader to get the code into memory, so I ended up having learned most of the common parts of the instruction set and programmed mostly in hex.

    Those were actually a very exciting time to be learning about computing, simply knowing a littel bit of BASIC wasn't going to get you anywhere, you had to understand the hardware as well.
     
  15. philipp United Kingdom

    philipp Active Member

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    I'd love to have a computer like that :)

    The Acorn System One looks amazing too, did anyone here use that at all?

    P.
     
  16. monaghan United Kingdom

    monaghan Moderator Staff Member

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    I didn't use an early Acorn, but I do recall one of the 6th form guys building a robotic device based on the Acorn for a project.
     
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