Programming for kids

On the Kagay-anon Linux Users Group mailing list:

we will just help kids learn the basics of programming,
logic formulation, flowcharting and the most important is their typing
speed till they will reach 105 wpm.

Here’s what I think about typing:

I find that as long as they can type without thinking about typing,
they’re fine. Get them to touch-type and they’ll be okay even if they
type slowly. The difference is that if you can’t touch-type, you’ll be
looking at the keyboard, and thus not looking at the structure of your
code. If you can touch-type, then even if you type slowly, you’re
still thinking about your code…

and about kids and programming:

What you really need to do is teach the kids to have _fun._
Show them that, and they’ll learn whatever else they need to.

One of my favorite quotes is:

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to
collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach
them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Go back and think about what you found fun. What made you fall in love
with computers? What was your passion?

I loved being able to explore. I loved being able to get the computer
to do what I wanted it to, even if it was such a simple thing. And
later on, when I discovered open source development, I loved being
able to make a difference in other people’s lives – even if it was
just a very little difference… =)

Give kids inspiration by showing them what they can do. Give them time
to play, to explore. Give them hints, not instructions. Help them
discover. Let them own their work, let them feel that it is theirs.
Don’t make it a typing exercise. Make it fun. Make it interesting.
Make it play.

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Random Japanese sentence: 猫がソファの上に寝ている。 A cat is lying on the sofa.

2 responses to “Programming for kids”

  1. Nehal Singhal says:

    This was very enriching ma`am..especially about giving hints to kids(while they explore new things using their computer) and not plain instructions.. :)

    1. sachac says:

      I had fun creating open-ended exercises when I taught introductory computer science. I was delighted to see what students did with it even in their first week of class. =)

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