Showing posts from February, 2017

A Different Approach to Teaching Kids and Teens to Code

This article originally appeared in HackerNoon magazine. How do you teach 5th graders about Software Engineering concepts without getting too deep into any particular language? This is a question I’d been asking myself a few weeks in advance of attending a local school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fair. I’d toyed with one of the standard approaches — move an object from a starting point to a destination with a series of commands (“Move left, turn 90 degrees clockwise, etc.). There are plenty of board games ( Robot Turtles, RoboRally ) and online examples of this concept, and while it definitely presents a clear goal, I’ve always felt the only big take-away for children is that the order of your operations matters. Not only this, but in a more literal sense, challenging problems like movement and rotation as well as object collisions are over-simplified. This leaves children with the wrong impression of programming — that there’s a set of commands out there


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