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Re^2: Teaching Children How to Program

by ambrus (Abbot)
on Nov 13, 2005 at 21:28 UTC ( #508151=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: Teaching Children How to Program
in thread Teaching Children How to Program

You could also try scheme instead of common lisp, PLT scheme can be very nice for beginners.

Update: my father tought me Basic when I was young btw.

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Re^3: Teaching Children How to Program
by Your Mother (Bishop) on Nov 13, 2005 at 23:39 UTC

    My grandfather (no relation to my Grandfather) taught me BASIC when I was 10 on his TRaSh 80. Those were the days. Fiddling the tape player volume as you carefully try for the 4th time to load a gigantic 15k program. Why, when I was a boy we had to program uphill in 10 feet of snow.

      Ahh, that's nothing. Why when I was a lad we used to program by poking holes in a pieces of card then mailing the cards away and waiting a week to see if the program worked.

      When the TRS80 came out I programmed it in Z80 machine code just for the challenge. (My Grandfather had a mechanical adding machine that I used for extracting square roots by using successive approximations - by hand.)

      Perl is Huffman encoded by design.

        Heh, I've tried a mechanical adding-multiplying machine once: the Math Institute has one and I could try it out once. It worked very nice.

        The machin has three long numerical displays: one for the multiplicand, one for the multiplier, and one for the product. You can set up the multiplier with a series of knobs, one for each digit. Then, you rotate the big handle on the sid of the machine, which increments the multiplier by one and the accumulator by the multiplicand. Then you can shift some part of the machine so that you can increment the multiplier by 10 instead of 1, or 100 etc, and then the accumulator will increase with the multiplicand shifted left with the correct amount. The accumulator and the multiplier can be reset independently, so that you can calculate sums of products. The handle also works backwards, for subtraction. There's also a bell that rings on carry/borrow (Update: the bell is useful for division).

        All in one, it seemed wonderful for me that you could do all those calculations without electronic parts, even when I understoodd how it worked.

        I've also tried a logarithmic scale and some typewriters, but I'm too young to having used any of these regularly. Hey, I'm too young for even computer programs (not music) stored on magnetic tape, the Commodore machines I used had floppy disks.

        Oh, and if anyone wants to read more of these nostalgic stories, read the comments on the poll My first computer was.... (I didn't comment there, but my first one was a 386 pc.)

Re^3: Teaching Children How to Program
by monarch (Priest) on Nov 14, 2005 at 00:27 UTC
    The library was my sole teacher. No humans required.

    I started off with Basic (on a Dick Smith VZ200) when about 10/11 years old. I started to teach myself Pascal when 13 and I didn't get into C and assembler until I was around 14. I still have the Turbo C 2.0 manuals from then and use the library reference even today.

    Teaching kids who want to learn is a worthwhile endeavour. But anyone who wants to know will learn of their own accord.

    I guess pointing kids in the right direction is the main thing..

      I started off with QBASIC on an Atari400 when I was 11, based on a single book. Had a lot of fun. That's great that it worked for you and I - we happened upon our passions. Many people, however, need to be shown things until they find their passion. For many (most?!) of the kids Sandy will be teaching, programming isn't going to be it. However, there may be one or two kids who just completely latch on to the experience, not having seen it before (or not having had the opportunity to try it before). And that's exactly the reason why we expose our kids to various things - to help them find their passion.

      Kids who find their passion on their own, that's great. But why leave such an important thing as "the rest of your life" to chance like that? By all means, don't force them into something (well, not for too long - sometimes doing what you don't like builds character, and that's important, too). Expose them to it.

      I suppose one of the biggest things I've learned in life so far is that everyone learns differently. Some kids seek out their passion. Others need to be exposed to something before they discover it. Some find a passion, then change their minds a few years later. None of these are bad - they just are.

      Intro classes are great - you'll find 50% of the kids don't continue in it (that's good - they've been exposed, and discovered it's not their passion, so they can continue looking), 30% will like it enough to try a second class before discontinuing, 20% may go on a bit further, but never develop a career out of it, a few may go on and make it into a career, and maybe one or two will find it to be their passion. All of these, that is what makes what Sandy volunteered to do worthwhile. Including the ones who don't pursue it. They may think it's dumb today, but 15-20 years from now, they'll look back and be glad that not only they took the course, but that they didn't pursue it. :-)

      I Completely agree. If someone wanted to learn than one will learn.

      I taught myself perl and started creating usefull programs within about 6 months. After having done this I qualified for a new scripting position involving VBScript.

      Wanting to script rather than my old job, has given me way more than enough motivation to learn a second language.

      Side note: Today I am told that I should also learn tcl. .... Away we go!

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