I’ve decided to offer some free programming lessons. I won’t assume any prior experience, and we’ll be starting off with some very simple demos. But I think they’ll be a lot of fun, so sign up and give them a try.
I read an article in Salon Technology today called Why Johnny can’t code. This is exactly why I’m starting this class. Please read the article and let me know what you think
For three years — ever since my son Ben was in fifth grade — he and I have engaged in a quixotic but determined quest: We’ve searched for a simple and straightforward way to get the introductory programming language BASIC to run on either my Mac or my PC.
I embarked on the exact same quest myself back in 2000-2001. Fortunately, I found QuickBASIC and then Cybiko, for which I could program in BASIC thanks to Greg Smith’s B2C (Basic-2-C) compiler. It certainly wasn’t easy. I sought out many variations of BASIC, QBASIC, and QuickBasic, and I remember spending a lot time surfing around on search engines. Most of the interpreters would run on Windows, but they were originally designed for DOS. So I had to make it work, and fortunately, I was very persistent.
Kids are not doing “something else” other than BASIC. Not millions of them. Not hundreds or tens of thousands of them. Hardly any of them, in fact. It is not their fault. Because some of them, like my son, really want to. But they can’t. Not without turning into time travelers, the way we did, by giving up (briefly) on the present and diving into the past.
This is so true and so sad. I asked my sister today how she would experimentally roll two dice 100 times and find the probabilities of each of the totals. Her only ideas were to:
- Physically roll dice 100 times. How about 1,000 times?
- “Mentally guess” random numbers and then count up the statistics. Try doing this for 10,000 rolls!
In other words, it’s impossible. But it’s easy to do with just a little bit of basic programming experience. And that’s exactly what I’m going to provide.
Anyone Can Code is my name for this new initiative to bring programming to
children who would love programming, but have never had the chance to
really explore it. The class will be laser-focused on effectively learning
computer programming, for a student who has never really tried it before.
At the end of the class, my students will have…
• An understanding of computer architecture
• Useful computer skills, including knowledge of websites and blogs
• Creative programming abilities, with an introduction to Java and Python
• Their own programming project they can include in their portfolio
• Their own Google Gadget of which they can be proud
No prior programming knowledge is expected. However, students must be
very fluent in English and have extensive experience with using a mouse
and keyboard. My goals are ambitious, and we’ll cover as much as we can