Teaching Kids to Code

Small Basic Turtle

Small Basic Turtle

I have been thinking for a while about teaching kids to code. I have tried a few different methods and used a couple of different books as a basis for spinning up my kids and their friends on the joys of being a code slinger. Nothing was really working exceptional well. I kept feeling like something was missing and it probably was the “fun” part of creating software. Part of the problem is today’s kids use such amazing software on the web and via video games and they don’t find coding a bubble sort in C++ much fun. They want to write the next hit first person shooter or IPad app the first time they compile.

But the other night I saw Steve Michelotti and his son give a presentation on just how to go about teaching kid’s to code using Small Basic’s “Turtle Graphics” functionality. I took be back to the late 80’s when kids learn taught programming on their schools Apple computers using the Logo programming language. You could Steve’s son had a blast making the “Turtle” move about the screen and change color and he had developed a knowledge of programming basics in the process. But MORE importantly he learned why geeks like me love to code. It’s such a creative, fun, absorbing activity and there is something magical about making a piece of hardware do your bidding.

Here’s a link to Steve’s Blog :
And here’s a link to the presentation and the code samples.

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