I have recently signed up to be a volunteer teacher at http://www.tealsk12.org/. I have been interested in teaching kids programming for some time now. Finally, a few weeks back my oldest son Noah showed interest in learning computer programming as well I was so excited at that news! I did some research and found a few sites that offer courses for children. I went through this PluralSight course with him. Overall, I did not think I was impressed with it. I felt that a lot of key and hard to understand concepts, such as variables and even math, were rushed through. I think the main reason I did not like it was the shortness of the course. It needed to be much longer I feel, even for a starting course. I also looked at the following sites:
- HTML tags, only taling about <h1-6>, <p>, <button>,<label>
- Basic CSS, background-color and color, and four main ways to use CSS – in-line or style attribute, tag type, element id and class attribute on elements.
- Basic input, <input>
In addition, we did a couple of review lessons, not introducing any new concepts. In each subsequent lesson I reinforce previous lessons by asking Noah use the concepts covered in homework assignments. After each lesson we create a homework assignment. Each assignment takes maybe 15 minutes. I ask Noah to do each one a few times, until he is comfortable doing it without looking at the previous lesson. I am trying to keep lessons interactive, keeping Noah at the keyboard 90% of the time. As far as tooling goes, we just use http://jsfiddle.net. To get totally immersed in the languages, we create homework as html pages as well, defining the homework target inside <p> tag, and putting homework into the same fiddle.
I am planning to continue the lessons once his and mine vacations are over. I am also planning to switch to Visual Studio as the editor pretty soon, just not quite yet. I think jsfiddle offers a clean learning environment that is available from any computer. I will try to post more on the subject as time goes on.
If you are interested in teaching kids programming, sign up at http://www.tealsk12.org/. You can make a difference in kids’ lives.