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Best Introduction To Programming For Bright 11-14-Year-Olds? 962

firthisaword writes "I will be teaching an enrichment programming course to 11-14 year old gifted children in the Spring. It is meant as an introduction to very basic programming paradigms (conditions, variables, loops, etc.), but the kids will invariably have a mix of experience in dealing with computers and programming. The question: Which programming language would be best for starting these kids off on? I am tempted by QBasic which I remember from my early days — it is straightforward and fast, if antiquated and barely supported under XP. Others have suggested Pascal which was conceived as an instructional pseudocode language. Does anyone have experience in that age range? Anything you would recommend? And as a P.S: Out of the innumerable little puzzles/programs/tasks that novice programmers get introduced to such as Fibonacci numbers, primes or binary calculators, which was the most fun and which one taught you the most?" A few years ago, a reader asked a similar but more general question, and several questions have focused on how to introduce kids to programming. Would you do anything different in teaching kids identified as academically advanced?

How To Encourage a Young Teen To Learn Programming? 1095

Anonymous Hacker writes "I'm in a bit of a bind. My young teenage son is starting to get curious about computers, and in particular, programming. Now, I'm a long time kernel hacker (Linux, BSD and UNIX). I have no trouble handling some of the more obscure things in the kernel. But teaching is not something that I'm good at, by any means. Heck, I can't even write useful documentation for non-techies. So my question is: what's the best way to encourage his curiosity and enable him to learn? Now, I know there are folks out there with far better experience in this area than myself. I'd really appreciate any wisdom you can offer. I'd also be especially interested in what younger people think, in particular those who are currently in college or high school. I've shown my son some of the basics of the shell, the filesystem, and even how to do a 'Hello World' program in C. Yet, I have to wonder if this is the really the right approach. This was great when I was first learning things. And it still is for kernel hacking, and other things. But I'm concerned whether this will bore him, now that there's so much more available and much of this world is oriented towards point-n-click. What's the best way to for a young teen to get started in exploring this wonderful world of computers and learning how to program? In a *NIX environment, preferably." Whether or not you have suggestions for generating interest or teaching methods, there was probably something that first piqued your curiosity. It seems like a lot of people get into programming by just wondering how something works or what they can make it do. So, what caught your eye?

What Programming Languages Should You Learn Next? 759

simoniker writes "Over at Dobbs Code Talk, Chris Diggins has been discussing programming languages beyond C++ or Java, suggesting options such as Ruby ('does a great job of showing how powerful a dynamic language can be, and leverages powerful ideas from Smalltalk, Perl, and Lisp') but suggesting Scala as a first choice ('Very accessible to programmers from different backgrounds.') What would your choice be for programmers extending beyond their normal boundaries?"

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