How can we start teaching computer programming?

Monday, July 3, 2006
<p>Just as the best way to learn problem solving is to solve lots of problems, the best way to learn computer programming is to write lots of computer programs.</p> <p>Lego, known for durable, educational and entertaining building sets, has created by far the most captivating introduction to computer programming. With <a href="/product-review/lego-building-sets-make-and-create-mindstorms-nxt-8527"><span class="caps">LEGO</span> Mindstorms <span class="caps">NXT</span></a> , your kids will learn the basics of programming as they build robots and program them to carry out specific tasks. Even elementary kids are capable of grasping these basics. Older kids still enjoy it, but build more complicated systems.</p> <p>When your kids are ready to move beyond programming mindstorms, you must first decide what language is best for them to learn and then what might be the best way for them to learn it.</p> <p>We&#8217;ve used several things.</p> <p>The college board recommends the more traditional approach of learning the Scheme language as a systematic, rigorous approach to computer programming. We worked partway through <a href="/book-review/how-to-design-programs">How to Design Programs: An Introduction to Programming and Computing</a> but did not finish it.</p> <p>We rarely use textbooks in teaching other subjects and the same is true of computer programming. We prefer using resources which present programming as useful and fun. We have completed two such books: one for learning Python and one for learning Ruby.</p> <p>Our oldest son learned Python with <a href="/book-review/python-programming-for-the-absolute-beginner">Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner</a>; here we wrote simple games with the ideas we learned in each chapter.</p> <p>Two of our kids are learning Ruby using <a href="/book-review/learn-to-program-pragmatic-programmers">Learn to Program (Pragmatic Programmers)</a>. <br /> Our 11 year old daughter especially enjoys modifying programs and quickly seeing the results of her changes.</p>

This is, the website built on our belief that learning is naturally fun. With the right expectation and approach, anyone can enjoy learning. But since each of us is unique, we each must find our own best way to learn. We know that we have found our way when learning is fun.

Here you will find books, products, and ideas that our family has used to make learning fun for each one of us. We hope that it encourages you to find your own way to have the fun of learning.