Which kid's beginners programming - Python or Forth?

Scott David Daniels Scott.Daniels at Acm.Org
Tue Jun 28 18:20:52 CEST 2005

Philippe C. Martin wrote:
> Hi,
> A couple links ...
> http://www.summerland.uku.co.uk/
> http://pylogo.org/
> http://www.python.org/sigs/edu-sig/
> BORT wrote:
>>Please forgive me if this is TOO newbie-ish.
>>I am toying with the idea of teaching my ten year old a little about
>>programming.  I started my search with something like "best FREE
>>programming language for kids."  After MUCH clicking and high-level
>>scanning, I am looking at Python and Forth.  Both have advocates that
>>say each is a great approach to learning computers.
>>My programming classes were a long, long time ago in a land far, far
>>away.  My programming muscles, which were never truly developed, have
>>atrophied even so.  That said, I want to learn this as we go.  The
>>PROCESS of research and using net resources for a self-learning
>>adventure is almost as much of the goal as learning a programming
>>That said, a good learning goal for my kid would be to create a
>>spelling tutor for his little brother.  My (simple) vision would be:
>>1.  an input file of this week's word list
>>2.  use a free text-to-speech engine to call out one word at a time
>>3.  in turn, monitor each key press as a particular word is being
>>typed, beeping on an incorrect keystroke and going to the next word if
>>I don't care if it takes a year or two to get to this level, I just
>>want a vehicle that will take us there.
>>I told my son, who wants to learn how to compute probabilities, that we
>>have to start with some boring stuff so we can learn how to do the cool
>>stuff.  Adding and subtracting aren't really fun, but figuring odds on
>>rolling dice IS fun.  Learning to program will be kind of like that.
>>He accepted that explantion.
>>So, that said...   In ~simplest~ terms for the stated goal -- Forth or
>>...the goal is NOT the spelling tutor... it is learning how to use a
>>tool to solve a problem.  I am asking which tool is more suited to an
>>otherwise arbitrary direction of "spelling tutor program."
>>[NOTE: This is not a troll.  I'm geting ready to bark up a tree and I
>>prefer to avoid the wrong one. I am cross-posting.]
Over on comp.python.education, David Handy recently announced his book
with a fairly long message (excerpted here):
     Written by a homeschooling Dad and professional software developer,
     "Computer Programming is Fun!" fills a need for a book that teaches
     computer programming to teenage youth.
     208 pages, $29.95 plus taxes and shipping if applicable
     Order from the author's web site:
     "Why teach computer programming to teenagers? For the same reason
     you would teach them piano or any other musical instrument. Consider
     the computer an instrument for the mind."

I've not seen the book myself, but it seems like it is targeted
to very nearly your situation, so I'd investigate it.

--Scott David Daniels
Scott.Daniels at Acm.Org

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