Join David Gassner for an in-depth discussion in this video Programming is fun!, part of Foundations of Programming: Programming for Kids.
The first question you might ask is, why would kids want to code? Coding can be difficult. There's always a learning curve, and to get over that curve there has to be a reward on the other side. For adult who haven't learned how to program coding can sound like an incredibly dull task. After all, aren't computers just those things we use at work? Spreadsheets, word processing documents, tax return preparation, what can be fun about that? But a lot of what we use computers for is entertainment.
Games are the most obvious example. Owners of computers and other devices, like cell phones and tablets, use them as much for amusement and competition as they do for budgets and position papers. So that's the first element of fun in programming. The end result can be something that's fun to use or to watch. But the fun in programming isn't just in what you make. It's in how you make it. Programming is puzzle solving. You're given a goal.
To make an animated character move or jump. Or to make a robot dance. Figuring out how to make that happen can be every bit as engrossing as a crossword or a jigsaw puzzle. Not all kids will find programming appealing. Just like adults, the enjoyment of solving puzzles in symbolic languages is entirely subjective. One kid will work on a puzzle for hours while another quickly becomes bored and moves on to other things.
One of the constant themes of this course is that every child is different, but you can't know which kids will be delighted by the puzzle of programming unless and until you let them try it out.
- Understanding your child's learning style
- Graphical programming on iPads and computers
- Making things move
- Learning about algorithms
- Programming animations, apps, and games
- Programming virtual and real robots
- Programming hardware: Arduino and Raspberry Pi
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 11/10/2014. What changed?
A: We updated the "Programming Android apps: MIT App Inventor" video to incorporate new device footage, so you can see how the app performs on an Android phone.