Teaching Children to Program Khan Academy / Processing
I've got a new experiment going on where I'm trying to get the kids interested in the new computer science offerings of the Khan Academy. We've really enjoyed the kid's creativity and things like minecraft, drawing, pretending, writing, etc.are all great outlets. Computer Science allows you to create incredibly power and fun things and I'm excited to see what they would create (if they get interested). Of course, there can be a lot of work to make a simple thing and that's a significant barrier for a child's attention span (at least initially).
Khan has chosen the processing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Processing_(programming_language) language and experience which is great. Like Kodu, Robozzle, or Scratch, those really visual experiences are great for building intuition and capturing imagination. So far, there's some interest - the drawing intro has already got them thinking. (http://www.khanacademy.org/cs/intro-to-drawing/848372201) I'm excited to see what they come up with - they really just need enough sparks to get them going.
Old Basic Program I wrote as a young child. I think I repeated the ever-so-humble program when text-to-speech started going as well. :)
10 PRINT "James rocks!!!"
20 GOTO 10
Those experiences where a tiny investment gives a sense of power, accomplishment and potential are critical - and a lot of fun to watch.