Monday 20 May 2019

Project 85: Revisiting Programming

In his first year of home education Solomon programmed in both ScratchJr and Scratch:

Unfortunately programming is one of those activities that all too easily gets overlooked on a week-to-week basis. When programming does appear, it is more likely to appear as a programming language associated with a specific technology (e.g., WeDo Lego, or Minecraft) rather than a full programming language. It therefore seemed a good idea to 'Revisit Programming!', and start Monica on her programming journey.

This week Monica worked her way through The Official Scratch Jr Book, while Solomon did a Code Your Own Pirate Adventure and tried a text-based programming language for the first time with Coding for Beginners Using Python.
This week's course books!

Monica really enjoyed programming in Scratch Jr on the tablet, and while Solomon really enjoyed the Scratch pirate games it is possibly a bit too simple for him now.

One of the criticisms of Scratch (and it may be equally applied to Scratch Jr) is that the ease with which you can make bright colourful games makes more formal languages seem dull in comparison. This means there is a real onus on the educator to emphasise the long-term advantages of Python in comparison to a block-based language.

While Solomon was not overly excited by his fist experience of Python, he nevertheless understands it's potential, and has agreed to stick with it. This was probably helped in part by the fact that the 1980's Usborne programming books are available online, and Solomon could recognise the similarity between him learning Python and his father having learned BASIC, but mostly he's just a child who's very good at delayed gratification - four weeks later and he's still eking out his Easter eggs!!

Next week's project: What is Maths?

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