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User friendly programming

Posted on 2000-04-27
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Last Modified: 2010-04-16
I have 2 children who are into games playing and I would prefer if they spent their time on the computer more beneficially.  Is there a language they can learn which is easy and more importantly will give some sort of instant hit and grab their attention.  I am not a programmer and would not be of any use to them when it comes to learning but would obviously like to learn with them.  So what is out there to interest 10 and 12 year olds and hold their attention.
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Question by:martin_mcginn
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by:Tommy Hui
ID: 2757546
Your best bet is to use Logo. Here is a site that you can find out more about Logo:

http://www.atlantic.net/~caggiano/logo/logo.html

Then if you have Windows, you can look here

http://www.softronix.com/

for a free implementation. Basically the language allows you to build simple programs.

Another possibility is look at the Lego robotics kits. They include a language to get the Lego robots to do things.
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by:Sasha_Mapa
ID: 2763597
I never learned Logo, my dad tried to teach me some basics of BASIC at about 7-8 but that didn't work out very well. I learned Pascal myself at about 12-13, quickly went through C/C++ and then got caught up by Java about a year ago.
Logo can be fun, but if your kids are smart, they'll get tired of it pretty quickly.
Personally, I don't think it's "good" to try to teach programming at that age, you should teach them checkers, chess etc. That will develop their analytical skills AND it is fun and competitive. Programming is fun when you have lots of patience because the "fun" is only at the end of your program when you see results, kids at that age aren't gonna be patient... Later, if they like to check out programming, they always can :-)
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by:martin_mcginn
ID: 2764325
Didn't realy answer the question - all i want is an easy programming language for my kids to learn.

I appreciate the fact that Sasha has given me an answer which he feels is correct but ...
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by:adam923
ID: 2764939
i learned BASIC at a very young age... probably 8-10 years?  i still have a book around my room somewhere that's written for children and teaches basic (complete with cartoon drawings and such) so you should be able to find some. and qBasic is still included with windows9x maybe? or else you could download it for free from msft.   logo is an ok place to start to get used to the whole idea of programming.  and i also agree with what sasha said about patience, if they aren't picking up on it quickly then don't force it, it's not really an endevor meant for young kids... now i'm 19 and studying computer science at a university, some of my peers were early starters like me and some only learned during high school or even their first semester here and they're doing just fine
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by:martin_mcginn
ID: 2767542
Can Thui please repost his answer as I now accept that the information he gave me was correct.  If he reposts i will accept.  Thank u to all who took time to help

Martin
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by:GivenRandy
ID: 2771718
Visual Basic is probably what you should use.  Many of the programmers started out with Basic many moons ago.  The new version is MUCH better.

The kids can drag and drop buttons, lists, etc.  They can program with very little effort.  VB provides type-ahead lists to help.  The syntax isn't as stringent as other languages and formatting is done automatically (for better or worse).

You can get Academic / Learning versions at a discount.  You might find them cheaper on eBay, but be careful out there!
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by:GivenRandy
ID: 2771723
To add some more, I have been programming 25 years (from age 12 to 37 now).  VB is a good skill to learn -- he can make decent money in high school or during summers!
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by:adam923
ID: 2771730
randy i agree with what you say but maybe for a child they could start out with just qBasic to learn what print and dim and for/next do and then move to visualbasic?
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by:martin_mcginn
ID: 2772146
Have decided that Thui who gave the first answer which was rejected too quickly is the answer I shall accept and am waiting on him reposting it.
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by:Sasha_Mapa
ID: 2772698
martin, you can click on the "Accept Comment as answer" button on the title bar of each comment without having to wait for an answer.
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by:ozo
ID: 2772756
Is that button available on a Rejected Answer?
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by:Sasha_Mapa
ID: 2772777
Yeah, I was thinking about that too... not sure.
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Tommy Hui earned 200 total points
ID: 2773679
Thank you.
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by:martin_mcginn
ID: 2775122
Thank u for all the comments and interest this question has generated.  sorry for screwing u about.

Martin
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by:shingchyi
ID: 3797933
well, programmming language is hard to learn for kids. But if u teach them webpage design...it might well be good. They can design their own personal webpage. Use netscape composer or Microsoft frontpage...what u see is what u get. the clock n drop visual basic is also good.
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by:Hessianator
ID: 12196865
I would also recommend the Lego programming languages.  Not only does it offer a relatively easy language to learn, but it offers a real world hands-on experience that allows the kids to see what their programs are doing.
My favorite language for Lego programming is NQC.

Here are some websites to get started:

www.legomindstorms.com

http://www.plazaearth.com/usr/gasperi/lego.htm
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