Teaching kids about computers...

Chuck Guzis cclist at sydex.com
Wed Nov 21 18:00:45 CST 2007

On 21 Nov 2007 at 15:37, Chris M wrote:

>  Phooee. PCs are arguably the best tools to learn on.
> It's such a vanilla architecture. Some earlier 8-bit
> UK and Yank machines wouldn't be a bad 2nd choice, but
> regarding media and such (he'll want to save programs
> remember) it couldn't be easier. You can stick a 3.5"
> HD drive in just about any peecee, even if it sees it
> as a 720k.

I'd probably start a young 'un with a PIC.  They're cheap, easy to 
program and pretty much self-contained (no ROM, RAM or other chips to 
worry about).  You can start with a little 12F629 and blink lights 
and even run a little motor.  Move up to some of the PICs with more 
I/O pins and build clocks, do basic communications, drive an LCD 
display, run a robot,  etc.  Reprogrammable and rugged; can be 
programmed in assembly or C or BASIC.  If the kid makes magic smoke 
with one or swallows one, no big deal.  They'll run off of 3 or 4 AA 
cells, so no worry about dangerous line voltages. 

Programmers can be had for little more than the price of the ZIF 
socket on one.  Tools are free for the downloading.


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