Friday, October 5, 2007

Programming Languages and Kids

I didn't start life as a programmer. I did take several programming classes in the local community college. I'll date myself by saying I had a BASIC course on Apple // computers and was excited when the //e came out. I also took COBOL, Fortran, and audited a Pascal course.

As a lab technician, I helped other students figure out syntax and logic errors in the programs, even assembly language which I never had as a course. I had no fear of programming. An adjunct professor scooped me up and I landed a job as a Programmer/ Technician at a national company. I didn't program, I taught people how to use Word and Excel. I learned a programming language of sorts called Mapper and taught the business folks how to generate their own reports.

When I started teaching children, I always thought that programming can lead to more ordered thinking. I wanted to teach some sort of programming language. Enter HyperStudio. It was a program that had already been purchased by the school before I arrived there. Built into HyperStudio was HyperLogo. I dabbled in Logo in college when I taught a College for Kids course. It was fun in HyperStudio, and easy. Enter OS X. I dragged HyperStudio along by running OS 9 in the background. Enter the Intel chip. HyperStudio wouldn't run in native OS X. So I found ACSLogo. It is a free program and I do like it, but I really only dedicate four or so sessions to the programming language. So the kids who like it never really get to far and there are kids who just don't get along with programming.

I've been seeing Scratch on the Moving at the Speed of Creativity blog. I finally downloaded it and ran through a bit of the tutorial. I think I'm hooked. I can't wait until I get further than scratching the surface. Go MIT.

No comments:

Post a Comment