Teaching Programming

"David Braben, a very well-known game developer who runs the UK development studio Frontier Developments, argues that education since we entered the 2000s has turned towards ICT which teaches useful skills such as writing documents in a word processor, how to create presentations, and basic computer use skills. But that has replaced more computer science-like skills such as basic programming and understanding the architecture and hardware contained in a computer." (Reference

I totally agree with this observation.  Even my more computer-savvy colleagues have very little clue how to write even the simplest of programs.  This is my one issue with current trends in ICT integration in education; it is all about using this program, or that Web 2.0 site without understanding how this magic happens.

I'm not saying that every student needs to become a computer whiz, but I think we need to teach basic programming skills which allow students to think logically and abstractly.  For more thoughts on this subject, please check out my blog post.

Here are some programming resources to get you started.  I have focused on software that is freely available as schools are always on a limited budget and free software can be downloaded and used at home.  My personal preference is for cross-platform software, so that every student can practice at home no matter what OS they are using.

Software Windows Mac Linux
Microsoft SmallBasic O    
Scratch O O O
GameMaker O O  
Kodu O    
Python O O O
JavaScript (Included with every web browser) O O O
PHP O O O
Greenfoot O O O
LightBot O O O

@TokyoEdTech

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