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Popular programming languages among children

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by bitplane, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. Hi all

    Please forgive the intrusion, I'm not a teacher I'm a software engineer who grew up in the 80s home computing boom. I have a hypothesis that the BASIC programming languages were more effective at teaching children to program than the traditional recommended software (Pascal etc) because they were not only easy to use but also accessible and most of all they were actually cool (amongst nerdy kids like me and my friends anyway).



    This hypothesis could be tested if we were somehow able to survey hobbyist programmer children, obtaining a list of how much time they have spent programming and which languages they enjoy the most. I suspect that the most fashionable languages among children strongly correlate with the most accessible and inspiring, regardless of which are actually recommended for their ease of use. This information would be useful for parents and teachers.



    I understand that you teachers probably have far too much work and far too little time on your hands to volunteer to dish a bunch of questionnaires out, but does anyone know a way how someone like me could actually succeed in gathering this data? Would I need a huge budget and to offer bribes to IT departments, perhaps friends in high places?



    Lowering the bar a bit I'm also willing to settle for some anecdotes, what are your high school hackers' weapons of choice outside school?



    Thanks in advance



    Gaz Davidson
     
  2. Hi all

    Please forgive the intrusion, I'm not a teacher I'm a software engineer who grew up in the 80s home computing boom. I have a hypothesis that the BASIC programming languages were more effective at teaching children to program than the traditional recommended software (Pascal etc) because they were not only easy to use but also accessible and most of all they were actually cool (amongst nerdy kids like me and my friends anyway).



    This hypothesis could be tested if we were somehow able to survey hobbyist programmer children, obtaining a list of how much time they have spent programming and which languages they enjoy the most. I suspect that the most fashionable languages among children strongly correlate with the most accessible and inspiring, regardless of which are actually recommended for their ease of use. This information would be useful for parents and teachers.



    I understand that you teachers probably have far too much work and far too little time on your hands to volunteer to dish a bunch of questionnaires out, but does anyone know a way how someone like me could actually succeed in gathering this data? Would I need a huge budget and to offer bribes to IT departments, perhaps friends in high places?



    Lowering the bar a bit I'm also willing to settle for some anecdotes, what are your high school hackers' weapons of choice outside school?



    Thanks in advance



    Gaz Davidson
     
  3. Have a chat with the people at Computing At School (CAS) (of everal many here are members).
     
  4. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    Why not set up an online questionnaire and ask people to get the students to fill it in? Ensure the questionnaire is anonymous of course as no school would allow it otherwise.
    We use:
    • Scratch - well loved, even used for some "more serious" tasks - binary conversion etc
    • Python - high flyers (C grade+) like this, lower ability use it to the limits of their current skills
    Post 16:
    • PHP and MySQL
    Looking at VB, C# possibly for the future.
     
  5. We use Yenka and Flowol, teaching KS3; if this helps you at all?

     

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