My New Strategy for Teaching Kids How to Code
We're working with real tools. No more sandbox, baby crap. I understand the motivation and thought process behind learning environments like Scratch and the various programming games and I appreciate the quality of work that has gone into many of them, but at the end of the day they're just not real enough (or, at least not for this group). I want the kids to develop real skills that they can use to create real things in the real world. Plus, the kids love it. Being able to login to their own server on the command line and create interactive web pages that the whole world can see is frankly pretty badass and they know it.2. Breadth-first Learning
Unsurprisingly, I've found that gamification works. For some reason, when you present a formal challenge to kids and assign points to it, they respond. I've tried just suggesting things for the kids to try out or work on, but often times that just results in a lot of screwing around with little progress.
Just so you can get a sense for the kind of stuff we're doing, here are the challenges from last night (session #4):https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dR6TjmPW4szVbquppOgnyG-f4H1AKOely-wrCNd2XWk/edit?usp=sharing
Anyway, it's all one big experiment and a work in progress, but it's exciting to see the kids progress and frankly I'm pretty much obsessed with it at the moment. More updates to follow ... ;)Edit:
Also, I owe a big shout-out and thank you to +Justin Vincent
, my good friend, TechZing co-host and general partner in crime, for allowing me to Shanghai him into doing this with me. We've done 38 sessions so far and if there's one thing we've learned it's that teaching kids this young to code is NOT easy. In fact, I would have to say that it's easily the hardest 5-hours of my week and the sessions are only 90-minutes long! ;)