Teaching Kids Code
Fred Wilson points to a piece in The Times about teaching kids computer science.
The article doesn’t necessarily point out anything we don’t know, though I found this nugget interesting: “Not enough young people are embracing computing — often because they are leery of being branded nerds.” (There is no evidence to support that fact in the article.)
As I’ve mentioned in the past, this is something I believe in wholeheartedly. I think you can start with really little kids and make it fun (as the article points out, it’s important to give them the feeling of “magic” you get when you make a computer do what you told it). What’s more, I think it’s really important that the teaching of code be approached from the creative side: Introductory courses should be part of the art department, not science. This is about letting kids build what they dream of and code should be treated no differently than paint and crayons (of course it takes a bit more time to get the hang of than those other things).
Bottom line is stop focusing instruction on the code and start focusing on the output of that code. Let kids make stuff and they’ll be hooked.