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Re: [school-discuss] ISO: Good programming language to teach an 8yrold

I'm just getting into Python myself, and liking it a *lot*.  It's been a long time since I enjoyed a language so much.

1) Very accessible, as much as BASIC used to be; GUI IDEs available (one's included in the distro).
2) Very good power potential - hooks into the OS, window-making environments available (haven't gotten into this myself yet, though).
3) Lots of usage motivations - you can use it as a scripting language, some groups do scientific computing in it....
4) Encourages good programming style - indentation  is *mandatory* :-) objects/classes are an integral part of the language - but you don't have to dive headlong into classes before doing anything interesting (which I feel is a pedagogical weakness of Java).
5) Runs pretty much the same on Linux, Windows.  (Maybe Macs, I don't have one.)

So there's a recommendation, I guess.


Bill Kendrick wrote:
Back when I was 8 years old (about 20 years ago now!), I programmed in
BASIC on my Timex Sinclair 1000 and Atari 1200XL computers.

Today, I've been asked to tutor a very smart (but currently far
too Windows-saavy for his and his parents' own good) 8 year old kid.

He's got a Pentium (which doesn't work, and it sounds like Windows is
broken), and I'm thinking of installing Linux for him. (He's used it before,
and likes what he's seen.) I think he's ready to start picking up
programming, as it will provide him with a creative outlet for all that
computer geek energy he has.

What's a good, kid-friendly language for today's kids to use (on Linux,
of course!)?

I've though about picking up some Python and passing my knowledge on to him,
but of course I'd rather ask the educators and other experts on various
mailing lists for suggestions, since many of you have already dealt with
this problem before.


Thanks in advance!

bill@newbreedsoftware.com Check out the new, improved Tux Paint site!
http://newbreedsoftware.com/bill/ http://newbreedsoftware.com/tuxpaint/

-Robert Montante, Ph.D.
Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics
Bloomsburg University
Bloomsburg, PA  17815       spam-resistant -  "bobmon at acm dot org"
phone: 570-389-4624  	          emails    -  "bobmon at bloomu dot edu"
"Ooh, drat these computers!
They're so naughty and complex, I could *pinch* them!"