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Monday, August 11, 2014

Basic Programming

One of my favorite classes in middle school was our six-week "technology" class. It's quite humorous to think back to what we did and how old the machines were. My favorite part was writing a piece of code in Basic that allowed my name to be repeated over and over and over again. Wow! I was on the cutting edge. But, more importantly, it made a lasting impression on me. Later I wrote a Choose Your Own Adventure game in Basic based on a movie. I don't code a lot these days but I still enjoy looking under the hood and dabbling around and it's helped me a lot using Excel to write formulas. All that to say it's important that kids have an understanding that there is code behind all that they do with their phones and devices and computers.

A great tool for learning how to do basic computer programming is Google's Blockly and it couldn't be more simple. Just drag and rearrange the blocks to make the character move around the area and reach the destination. It also works on the iPad. Give it a spin and if you have kids who really enjoy it you can move them to Scratch, a more advanced programming tool.

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