[Squeakland] Need advice about teaching programming to children

Alan Kay alan.kay at vpri.org
Fri Nov 23 07:55:13 PST 2007

Hi --

The biggest difference between elementary school children - and teens 
and adults - is in their ability to make plans and carry them out -- 
quite a bit of this seems to be developmental and thus somewhat 
related to age (where ages 11-13 are a pivot point between one kind 
of planning and more elaborate plans). A second developmental 
difference is in how certain kinds of abstractions can be learned and 
used -- one could easily divide up the elementary years into 3 or 4 
categories based on the kinds of abstractions and the forms for them. 
Some of these results have been used in both Scratch and Etoys to 
achieve a better cognitive fit.

The most important questions for you to ask yourself have to do with 
your ultimate goals for teaching programming to children. Programming 
can be a route towards learning lots of powerful ideas and thinking 
processes, but it is not sufficient all by itself (the class of 
programmers today doesn't appear to be necessarily very enlightened 
or knowledgeable about much of anything by virtue of learning to 
program). So you need some goals, and then some ways to possibly use 
programming to help children learn what you hope.



At 09:07 PM 11/22/2007, nigen wrote:
>I am a Delphi programmer.  I have start to taught programming to 4 
>grade elementary student using Scratch for about 1 month. I  have  seen that
>the programming concept can be understood  easily by the student.
>I have learned "squeak learn programming with robot" . Currently, I 
>am learning smalltalk. I found that smalltalk is really powerful 
>programming environment. I hope I can eventually teach children real 
>programming. But I found that GUI programming like Delphi is much 
>simpler in the term of GUI.
>I believe elementary student can do programming like adult if we 
>have a good method to teach them programming skill. (Please advice 
>me if I am wrong).
>I need advise to how I should proceed my programming class. I have 
>some scenario
>Scratch --> Etoys--> BotsInc. --> smalltalk or
>Scratch --> BotsInc --> smalltalk  or
>Etoys --> BotsInc. --> Smalltalk   or
>Scratch --> Lazarus (Delphi like Open source).
>Squeakland mailing list
>Squeakland at squeakland.org

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