Tag Archives: programming

Teaching Kids Computer Skills – Programming

I may have mis-spoke when I sad teaching kids to program is boring. Actually, there are several programs out there that make it fun for kids. I cant tell you how many kids I know that want to “make things” on the computer – things that they can interact with – but get overwhelmed when they’re told they need to know programming. Check these programs out – there is nothing easier!

1. Scratch

Scratch Screenshot

Aimed at students aged 8-16 years old, Scratch is one of the best ways to take the first leap into programming. Developed by the MIT Media Lab, Scratch is a visual programming language. It allows students to build interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art. This visual approach to programming is the perfect way to teach students the fundamental concepts behind programming and software development. Scratch is free to download and runs on Mac, Windows and Linux.


2. Alice

Alice Screenshot

Alice is a 3D programming environment that allows students create animations, interactive games, or videos to share on the web. The application will help students understand key principles such as object orientated programming and 3D modelling. Programs are created by drag and dropping graphic tiles. Each instruction corresponds to standard statements in a programming language, such as Java, C++, and C#. Alice is free todownload and runs on Mac and Windows.


3. Hackety Hack

Hackety Hack Screenshot

Taking programming for kids to the next level, Hackety Hack teaches the absolute basics of the Ruby programming language. Ruby is the foundation of many desktop and web applications such as Twitter, Shopify and Hulu and is a great starting point for command based programming. Students use an integrated text editor to begin building ruby apps and by the end will be comfortable with basic programming syntax. Hackety Hack is an open source application that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.


4. Codecademy

Codecademy gets you coding as soon as you open the page and is a fun, social introduction to programming for kids. Aimed at higher level students, courses focus on generic programming skills and JavaScript development. Codecademy is different to other courses in it’s very interactive approach to programming. Students work through an integrated terminal that gives feedback as they code. The social element is grown through earning badges and sharing progress with friends.


5. OpenClassroom

Openclassroom Screenshot

Run by Stanford University, Openclassroom gives students free access to Computer Science lectures. Lectures cover a wide variety of programming curriculum and generic computer skills. Videos are well structured and go from quite basic lessons to detailed science, syntax and structures. The lecture format is a great way for students to engage visually as well as introducing them to tertiary styles of teaching and learning.


6. Code School

Codeschool Screenshot

Code School offers a range of free and paid courses for students that are looking to broaden their knowledge in programming. With courses such as “Rails for Zombies” and “JQuery Air: Captain’s Log” you can see that Code School tries to keep the fun in learning. Finishing courses will give you badges to show your progress, completion videos, as well gifting you cash to purchase further courses.


7. Codea

Codea Screenshot

iPad apps would have to be some of the hottest programs being developed right now. Codea helps make the iPad development process and programming for kids a lot easier. It is a great starting point for students interested in making apps and lets students program directly on the device. Students can create games, simulations and just about any visual idea they have. Like all apps, Codea is available from iTunes and is only $7.99.



Source: 7 Sites That Make Programming For Kids Fun | Kid to Code

Teaching Kids Computer Skills – Introduction

Everything from your cell phone, to your car, to even your refrigerator has a computer in it. And they do everything from automatically track and adjust finances to reminding us to get milk and monitor expiration dates on the food we buy.

Refrigerators can interface with your phone in such a way to remind you to stop at the supermarket within a certain geo-locational range when traveling – to save you the dreaded “second trip.”

From an early age our kids show a serious interest in technology. At just under a year old my children were able to operate my smart phone to a certain extent. And now that my son is a bit older he’s expressed an interest in how these things work – which got me thinking how I can keep him interested in the “how” without him loosing interest.

Lets face it, programming is boring to most. But there quite a few computer skills that kids need as early as elementary school. Skills like typing (finding letters on the keyboard) and mouse skills have become a prerequisite to Grade School.

Kid Programming” can be fun, especially if your children like puzzles and games. There are several programming based learning systems that only use the prerequisites listed above that can lead your child to accomplishing complicated programming tasks that would otherwise seem impossible. As a father, I find enabling that sense of accomplishment in my children is important.

Whether your child is interested in rocket science or dirt, there is a relational game or program out there to teach them the proper computer skills needed to advance academically.

In this series we are going to be looking at ways we can meld the games and seemingly mindless activities that our kids enjoy and transform them into serious problem solving tools that stimulate and nurture their mental growth.

We will look at some books and products that we can get right off the shelf and also dive into a few video tutorials using MineCraft to teach STEM based problem solving and learn programming basics!

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