[TriLUG] How young is too young for linux-ish training?
magnus at trilug.org
Tue Aug 30 23:24:11 EDT 2011
I think I was about that age, maybe a year younger, when I wrote my first program. Of course in the 1970's that was sort of uncharted territory. My parents were completely uninvolved in the adventure, having sent me off to summer camp.
My tutor at the time was the grounds keeper who was just tending to the grounds to keep himself busy in his retirement. My recollection was that he was a retired engineer. His bunk space at the camp was pretty well filled with homebrew early computer gear, using very little in the way of microchips and was more of a hybrid of tube and transistor tech for the most part.
The device I learned on was a contraption that pretty well filled a card table (maybe two, I forget). Acrylic case, silicone joints, with both tubes and transistors inside, and very likely a primitive microprocessor in there somewhere. The only two I/O devices were an electric typewriter and a curious gadget on the floor, which I'll get to.
The typewriter was both an input and an output device. All of my commands were echoed directly to paper. The computer could also output its own simple text to the paper via typewriter. It was not a continuous feed so if you were getting near the bottom of the page, it was smart to get the next piece of paper set up before entering the next command.
On the floor was a turtle robot connected by an umbilical to the computer. The floor usually had some large piece of cheap "hoagie paper" (as we called it in Philly). The computer had a simple LOGO language interpreter and I could enter whole programs into it (complete with line numbers, for loops, gotos, etc) and while all of the other kids were playing soccer, swimming, exploring the woods… I spent every minute I could with that groundskeeper learning LOGO and, by extension, the simple math and geometry needed to do useful things with the turtle.
And therein lies the rub. As unusual as I was for that era (but perhaps a common story in this crowd), I was still a child. This was play for me. The turtle was a toy. The rules of the game were just rather advanced for a small child.
Whatever you do, make this fun, give the kid frequent chances to have it do something really cool. Even show him the "<blink>" tag. No, really. But then after he has his fun, let him know we all very much hate that one. ;)
Once he has an understanding of HTML, some of the languages used to create dynamic HTML content will make more sense.
Best of luck!
On Aug 30, 2011, at 10:33 PM, Paul G. Szabady wrote:
> Greetings TriLUGers!
> My 7 year-old grandson has been asking me for close to a year to teach him to build a website. Not knowing how to go about teaching someone that young, I finally just put up a site for him. He loved it for about a week, then started asking me to show him how to make changes. I would love to begin teaching him some basic html or maybe even some basic programming, but I'm stumped. How and where to begin? Has anyone ever run into this type of issue before? And/Or does anyone have any suggestions on where to begin? I don't want to push him into something that would cause resentment. On the other hand, he is academically gifted in math and reading, loves science and excels in sports. So he already has a track record of pushing himself. If there's a way to "learn" together, I would love to have special papa/grandson time if there are any classes that we could attend.
> Any/All thoughts are welcome!
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