Aug 242016
 

I found out that my daughter’s school recently introduced coding as a core subject.
As an IT professional myself, I applaud the school to have the foresight to introduce such a critical skill for our future generations.
As a father, I’m somewhat at a loss as to how to go about helping my daughter learn how to code. I’ve self-taught myself new languages for many years, but have no idea how to teach someone else how to code!

However I recently found a book at my daughter’s school book fair that helps teach coding.
The book – How to Code: A Step-By-Step Guide to Computer Coding by Max Wainewright – helps the reader learn the simple basics of logical thinking up to actual coding in Python, HTML, and Javascript. This book is the equivalent of the series of the 4 ‘How To Code’ books also by Max Wainewright. You can find the first book at the Book Depository

I started reading through the book with my daughter the other day and found that the way the book teaches logical thinking is in the form of simple games to play to start off with.
After the games, comes simple LOGO programming. LOGO programming is an extremely easy way to teach procedural programming as it allows a student to give a ‘turtle’ basic instructions to direct it to draw shapes onscreen. This allows the sort of instant gratification that motivates a student to further their skills in this arena.

We didn’t get up to the coding section when we were reading, but I thought that I would set up her computer with the software so that she can start playing around with LOGO by herself once we’ve gone through the LOGO coding sections.

As she is using Debian as her operating system, it was quite easy to find the software required in the distribution repositories. I installed the following software to get the computer ready for her programming adventures:

  • kturtle – A Logo-like programming environment.
  • scratch – A programming IDE that allows block-based programming.
  • IDLE3 – The Python IDLE IDE for Python version 3

I also have a Raspberry Pi that I’ve allowed my daughter to use to try programming on. I’ve bought a couple of hobby kits that are full of LEDs, switches, breadboards, resistors, etc to expose her to the more physical side of coding, however that will likely come later on down the track when we get to the Python goodies.

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