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New Ways for Teaching Children Software Programming

  • What if computer programming became basic knowledge, taught in primary school right next to language and arithmetic?

  • Children now live lives constantly using computers, but why aren't they expected to train (program) them?

  • Are the skills developed by computer professionals generally useful to enhancing other academic skills?

Software programming has come a long way for students and younger children since the days of Logo. Syntax has been replaced with connecting blocks and the triangle turtle has been replaced with custom artwork children create themselves.

Other changes include the assumptions we make when teaching children to program. For instance, multi-threading and event processing are easier to teach than functions.

I've gone back to school… elementary school, to teach programming to the kids. I'm relating my experiences at a couple of conferences this summer. You can catch a sneak peak at my presentation (in the OpenOffice format).

My session begins by discussing the issues surrounding encouraging girls to take and enjoy my computer programming course, and some of the issues about what changes we should make in order for our computer culture to be more inviting to girls and women.

The session then discusses the new crop of kid-friendly programming languages as well as how best to teach them. This includes:

For our children to succeed as adults, the 3 R's need to include logic, problem solving and data analysis, for what careers in the future won't require those skills? In my opinion, programming should be part of our school curriculum, for along with those skills, it can also re-enforce math, reading, and creative skills.

If you are going to OSCON or the Open Source Bridge conferences, stop by my session.

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