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[school-discuss] Re: ISO: Good programming language to teach an 8yr old
Hello. I started programming at around 8 years old myself and now, a
decade later, I'm a freshman majoring in Information and Computer
Science. This is all of course just my personal experience and opinion,
especially since I'm not an educator. And 8-year-olds nowadays seem a
lot smarter than ten years ago.
Logo was probably my first scripting "language". School taught it in
second grade. It was interesting for about an hour and got boring quickly.
My first real scripting was with HyperCard and its scripting language
HyperTalk. That's probably where I've spent the most time playing around
with in the last ten years. The natural language-ish programming made it
easy to learn, and it was incredibly easy to script the user interface.
You could write some pretty neat games with it, but you can also do some
nice database-like things with little effort (HyperCard is essentially a
visual, programmable database.)
HyperCard has since died out. The Hypercard clones like Metacard are
still around, and Metacard runs on Linux I think (not sure if it's just
the player), but they cost $$$. I think it'd be awesome if there were a
(working), open-source Hypercard clone, including HyperTalk. As far as I
know, there aren't any near completion.
PythonCard looks promising, but it still looks like something for older
kids (middle to high school.) But hey, the kid you're tutoring may be
smart enough to figure it out.
I'd recommend Python over any of the traditional languages like C/C++
and Java (or in my case, my first "real" language was Pascal) but it's
still somewhat of a leap over simpler languages like HyperTalk or BASIC.
And then there's the issue of how to make it interesting. I wanted to
write games in Pascal but my dad said, no, you have to learn math and
pointers and system calls and all that other stuff. So my Pascal games
ended up being primitive text adventures (first just numbered menu
items, and eventually one-word commands). Which was fine, because I was
still playing text adventures at the time and they weren't completely
dead and out of fashion as they are now. Am I old enough yet to say that
kids nowadays are spoiled by fancy computer and video games?
Maybe geeks still get a kick out of printing "Hello World" and printing
out the fibonacci sequence.
Hope at least something in the above helps,
- Jason Lai
Bill Kendrick wrote:
>What's a good, kid-friendly language for today's kids to use (on Linux,