Welcome to Computer Programming For Kids (CP4K)

Welcome to the Computer Programming for Kids blog! We are the co-authors of the book "Hello World! Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners", released in March 2009. The book is published by Manning Publications. Manning has a web site for the book, which is where you can download the software and other files related to the book. You can purchase it here, at the Manning web site. If you use this link to purchase the print book or e-book from the Manning web site, you can use the discount code aupromo40 at checkout to get a 40% discount. You can also get it through online retailers like Amazon, as well as in many retail locations such as Chapters in Canada and Barnes & Noble in the U.S. This blog is mostly about the book (for now), but anything related to computers and programming, particularly for kids and beginners, is fair game. We will post articles with extra material that didn't make it into the book, and reader feedback and suggestions are always welcome.

Friday, July 15, 2011

College for Kids

Recently, I (Carter) TA'ed for Dave Briccetti's College for Kids programming class for 11-to-14-year-olds at Diablo Valley College. We used Python 3 and Kojo Learning Environment (a turtle-based program you can script in Scala). I learned lots from the experience, and it was great working with Mr. Briccetti.

The kids in the class learned about loops, input, if statements, printing, and randomness in Python 3. They also learned about loops, functions, and controlling the turtle in Kojo. I saw lots of interesting projects come out of this. Some people were really creative (for instance, drawing complex pictures with Kojo) while others chose to examine and modify some of the example programs. One student, who I really enjoyed working with, was constantly asking me questions like, "So if I was to make it do one thing if there's an error, and another if there isn't, how would I do that?"

The one problem that almost everyone had at some point was typing things in correctly. Kids would call me over asking about some incomprehensible error message, and I would type one character and it would work. Remember, always make sure you type in the example properly if there's a problem.

I also did a presentation of functions. You can watch it on the Young Programmers Podcast.