I believe that in today's world there are many reasons why children should pick up programming early on. In an environment increasingly dominated by computers, accompanying skills should be taught to children for the same reason we teach them languages, mathematics or geography. It is our responsibility to equip children with the knowledge necessary to understand our world and to have a host of options in it and I believe that programming can play an integral part in this.Happynerds began back in December 2009 and now features everything from Ruby for Kids to game design software. The original post explaining how the project started cites the inspiration of Railsbridge's "Teaching Kids" mission. Some very inspiring ideas both at Railsbridge and at Happynerds; it's well worth your time to check it out.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Teaching Kids Programming
by Shelly Blake-Plock
We've debated Douglas Rushkoff's ideas regarding "Program or Be Programmed" on this blog before. Whichever -- and whatever -- way you feel about Rushkoff, the idea that kids would benefit from learning to program is an idea in and of itself long overdue in the edu mainstream.
In my own experience, I still remember learning BASIC back in second grade as part of a computer science pilot program. That early introduction to programming gave me much more than the ability to write GOTO operations; it gave me a sense of how conditional operations function and thus impressed upon me early the structural value of logic.
We've come a long way since BASIC, but for many kids programming remains something of a mystery. With this in mind, it put a smile on my face this morning to run across a @noblehour retweet of a mention by @edlioinc of the resources available at happynerds.
Happynerds, the brainchild of Rails developer Michael Kohl, provides descriptions and links to a ton of kid-oriented programming learning resources for Windows, Mac, Linux, and even browser-based media.
As the site states: