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Help, teaching 12-13 year olds to code


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#21 TnKR   Members   -  Reputation: 111

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:58 PM

Interesting thread.

I believe that it is important to keep in mind the audience. I understand every side being argued here, but I believe that everyone is approaching the topic from a developer perspective, instead of the child perspective. I'm here to advocate for both.

What is the goal??
Well, this might be another topic of contention, but I believe it is to get kids (read: 12 year olds) excited about creating things, and this could be anything from stories to animations or games. If they are excited/interested, they will tend to revisit or stick with something. And after repeated exposure (10,000 hours, via Malcolm Gladwell) you will be good at it.

Kids, especially at that age, are very fickle. They don't know what they like but they DEFINITELY know what they don't like. I understand fringe cases out there, but it is generally safe to say that kids don't like typing code, let alone anything with any kind of syntax (even if you are a gifted top 20% child). Therefore trying to ignite some interest in game creation (via syntax/text) will largely fail because kids get turned off before they can actually make something they can appreciate.

My Recommendation:
Start kids with a visual programming language. Syntax and actual code is the least interesting and least rewarding part of programming. On the other hand, getting kids excited about programming and getting them to understand programming concepts(loops, variables, objects, functions, etc) is how to create GREAT programmers.

I know what everyone is going to say. Visual Programming languages such as Scratch isn't REAL programming (I agree), but I believe it starts kids on a path to real programming.

That said, there are many problems that I have with Scratch. Feel free to reach out to me for recommendations!

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#22 Tantalus45   Members   -  Reputation: 117

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 03:09 AM

Just a comment... for someone who boasts online about being in the the top 20% of intellects in the country... you seem to have bad spelling and grammar... just an observation. I think c# is a bit too much for the age group. I would teach them python like they said above so the children can see the results while they learn the basics. It will keep their interest.

Edited by Tantalus45, 07 September 2012 - 03:14 AM.


#23 game of thought   Members   -  Reputation: 209

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 09:08 AM

That'll you for the obsevartion, I have auto spell on my phone so it sort of destroys any form of grammar and I wasn't boasting about it I'm sorry if it came across that way what I meant to say I am a student as well an only a year older than them

#24 game of thought   Members   -  Reputation: 209

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 09:17 AM

Auto correct proof above that'll was supposed to be thank you

#25 TnKR   Members   -  Reputation: 111

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 05:45 PM

I am running a small club next week and I would like help with ideas teach them


Is the club just one day or is it across weeks?

#26 game of thought   Members   -  Reputation: 209

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 04:13 AM

One day a week until late july

#27 sheep19   Members   -  Reputation: 384

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 04:48 AM

I would suggest teaching them from khanacademy.org

http://www.khanacademy.org/cs

#28 TnKR   Members   -  Reputation: 111

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 03:33 PM

One day a week until late july


Is this school-related or like an after-school program. Reason I ask is because I've been researching available material and curriculum to host an after-school program? Have you tried Scratch or Alice?


I would suggest teaching them from khanacademy.org

http://www.khanacademy.org/cs


Khan Academy is a start but isn't for everyone. The CS lessons are limited and often too much for that age group.

#29 game of thought   Members   -  Reputation: 209

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 03:35 PM

We are doing it afterschool and i have tried scratch bit we deemed it as inappropriate as it doesnt teach an actual language

#30 slicer4ever   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2603

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 01:01 AM

I know this is off the wall, but how about using minecraft with computerCraft installed?

It allows for teaching lua, and the students can see their results nearly immediately(for example, building password door locks, piston doors to hidden rooms, piston controlled elevators, and numerous other contraptions).
Check out https://www.facebook.com/LiquidGames for some great games made by me on the Playstation Mobile market.

#31 albert666   Members   -  Reputation: 101

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 11:09 AM

I started with programming in Basic on ZX Spectrum when i was 13 :-)




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