Saturday, December 27, 2008

Teaching the internet generation to code

My 12 year old nephew is a heavy user of Vista, abuser of MSN, scoundrel on teh internetzor, and is fair on english. I will not discuss how much further I was at that stage, but I believe that the creation of nifty GUI OS' and xtrem good looking games has minimized the incentive of writing code to do stuff. So how do we teach coding to the internetzor generation and make it interesting for those with a short attention span?


I made a push with Groovy, some time ago, since it lowers the bar on adoption and fairly similar to Java. But the end result was that a simple hello world was 30 min of installing, and coding more advanced stuff is often to complex to do on-the-fly and should propably be done beforehand. Also, the end result is not astonishing for a 12 year old. You printed out "hello world" to the screen, so what!? It doesn't exactly look like Tekken...


This winter I tried a different approach, HTML web pages. The main benefit is that it's really fast to mock up a demo and show something. And it's a technology which's not wrong to teach. When he wants to have something a little more dynamic, show him JavaScript. If he wants a full application; Applets or Flash. He can fairly easily show it to his friends. The only problem I can see is that reading and learning xml syntax, such as can be hard.

After seeing the second web page he had created; "I want to make a scam site for Habbo"
I guess HTML just might have potential...

1 comment:

  1. Interesting problem this, tried a bit myself without too much success :-P
    But maybe Flash would be "perfect" - you can stick with the great gui animation possibilities in the beginning and gradually extend with more and more actionscript. It should be fairly easy to make internetz0r gamez.


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