Teaching programming concepts to kids

Ross Werner rosswerner at gmail.com
Sun Nov 12 10:48:25 MST 2006

On Sat, 11 Nov 2006 23:40:00 -0800, Levi Pearson <levi at cold.org> wrote:
> Back in those days, even some commercial programs were written in BASIC  
> with simple menu-driven interfaces.  Creating those was within the reach  
> of a hobbyist programmer, and more importantly, it /felt/ like it was  
> within reach.

This is, I think, the big difference between "programming then" and  
"programming now". When text adventure games were all the rage, and a few  
lines of BASIC could look the same as one, it was pretty easy to get the  
feeling that you were creating something that people would actually want  
to play.

However, with powerful (and free/Free) libraries existing today, I think  
we're starting to get close to having this ability again. I've been  
intrigued by PyGame in particular. It's cross-platform and drop-dead  
simple to make games with--that *feel* like they're within reach of  
commercial games. Take a look at these two tutorials, for example:
Both are more or less understandable by someone just learning to program,  
and can be tweaked by novices to do more than they currently do. I've also  
heard of this book:
which actually wraps PyGame around something even easier. I haven't read  
it, but I've heard that it's geared towards the absolute newbie who  
doesn't even know what a for loop is, takes them through the basics and at  
the end has them writing a game with sound and graphics.

So for people who are past the "Logo" stage of wanting to program,  
Python/PyGame seems like a great way to go. Has anyone else tried this  

	~ Ross

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