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[school-discuss] Hello and Re: first programming language

Hello, All:

I am new to the list. I found you through Joel Kahn, who thought I would be interested in the topics on this list, and he was right. I've worked primarily in higher ed, on the humanities/social science side of things, but am fairly geeky, always interested in how technology and education come together. Until recently, though a Mac user, I hadn't spent any serious time at a terminal since MS-DOS, but have found my way back to one after receiving an XO laptop when I donated to OLPC's "Give One, Get One." So it struck me that the first three respondents out of the gate quickly said "Python," because the XO, of course, has "Pippy," a version of Python, and a marvelous thing called EToys that involves creating things by programming with tiles. 
One of my motivations for getting the laptop, besides curiosity, was the idea that I might be able to learn some Python by playing like a kid again, and this is happening. So I thought I'd put in a good word for Python from the non-programmer side, and wonder, Roberto, if you could even get your hands on one of these XOs for your student to play with. Its UI, Sugar, can be run in emulation, but people keep debating Sugar per se vs. other Linux possibilities. 

I also thought of MIT's site, again for kids, for learning Scratch (tiled, and based on Squeak). Here is the url: http://scratch.mit.edu/ . Apologies if this has been discussed before. A danger of being new to the list. 

Nice to meet you all !

Jennifer Dellner

On Apr 8, 2008, at 12:02 PM, Bill Kendrick wrote:
On Tue, Apr 08, 2008 at 11:15:49PM +1000, Richard Andrews wrote:
Note: I'm not a teacher - I'm a software engineer.


Once upon a time I had it in my mind to make a book on programming
for kids in the 8-12 yo range, similar to "Atari BASIC: A Self Teaching Guide"
that I had as a kid.  (It covered the basics (no pun) and had an unoffensive
cartoon character guide you along the way.)

I asked Schoolforge and other lists what they thought would be a good
language, and all but about 3 people said Python.  Someone said Squeak.
I forget what the other suggestion was, at this point.

And yes, I'd love to write that book.  But (1) don't know Python, (2) don't
have time. :(

Yet. :)