Need Rec: Book to teach about computers and BASIC at an eight year old level

Ali cctalk at
Fri May 27 17:04:07 CDT 2016


Tell me about it. In the age of streaming and instant gratification nobody
wants to work to get anything anymore. I can't really blame him either: why
would you want to run "Hello World" when you can touch your iPad and be
playing Minecraft before the 5151 monitor has even warmed up to show you the
memory counter :)

> 1) Provide him with problems (lots of them!) in other areas that the
> PC-XT / basic combo can solve for him. Give him math homework with
> iterative solutions, ask him to calculate the value of pi or find the
> first 500 pythagorean triplets, or something like that. Then help him
> through solving those problems, and pose him more problems to solve
> himself. This will take a lot of time on your part.

I agree with giving him problems - but he is eight and has no idea what "pi"
is (outside of something you eat) much less how to calculate it. I am
thinking giving him simple problems and more importantly tools to entertain
himself. If he can write simple programs that he can show off to friends
that will keep him interested.  Of course I have a feeling I will see a lot

10 print "What is your name?"
15 input N$
20 print N$ "made a stinky fart"
30 goto 20

> 2) Demonstrate that *you* are interested in it - play nim or trek or
> hammrbi for a couple of hours, or write your own computer game on it,
> with him watching over your shoulder. Let him help

I agree that this is key! I want it to be an interactive experience and not
another electronic distraction ala PS3/iPad/etc. He is actually still
interested in some of the older games even though the graphics are not
fancy. So there is still hope that he can be kept from all the distracting
fancy graphics and focus on the meat of the problem. I think once he gets a
bit of success running things then he may want to pick up on it himself.
Right now the biggest hurdle is going from an iPad which is very intuitive
to DOS which his very intimidating so he is put off. 

> 	My 2 cents worth, and please note I was not successful at
> following the above advice myself. My kids got "exposed" to a bunch of
> this, never really clicked on it, and only now (away in college) are
> beginning to get interested. They are sailing through their CS courses
> because they keep tripping across nuggets that they immediately "get"
> (having had me bore them to tears about it in past ages) while their
> classmates struggle - but that's not the goal you were looking for.

Well you must have done something right for the information to stick and
help them now! Kudos to you for that!


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