Knowing that the kids will do just about anything to get more ‘screen time’ I have been a long time fan of the Khan Academy to provide additional education without the complaints and with more patience than I could muster.
When I heard that the Khan Academy had come up with a computer science course I was intrigued, but a little skeptical . But after just two sessions with my kids I have to say that they have outdone themselves! The lessons are explained in ways that are fun, accessible and very easy to understand.
The best part is that they have an interactive screen right next to the code area where any changes are seen in real-time. Numbers can be changed using sliders instead of typing, which helps them quickly understand what each parameter does and whether it is the one they were looking for, and any errors are immediately shown along with a helpful message.
Check out the video to see just how easy this is to use.
After one lesson my 9-year old daughter ran off to the kids PC to start creating her own colored shapes.
I can only tell you that I wish this had been around when I was learning to program – it would have saved me enormous amounts of frustration staring at the cryptic “Syntax Error” messages that the Apple II would throw out.