Sunday, September 10, 2006

Son, it's time to be a geek...

This weekend a shiny new desktop arrived at the Caborn household. After many long months of procrastination, I finally bought a PC for my kids to use. The previous family PC had met an untimely end due to a spilt glass of orange juice about 6 months ago.

While the kids were at school I spent a nice geeky morning setting it up for them and now Heather is happily playing preschooler games and Skyping to my laptop downstairs. Fantastic.

My son wants to be a computer geek like his dad when he grows up. Well, not exactly like me; he plans to drive a DB7 and be a rock star Mondays and Fridays. So, if he's going to lead such a cool life, he needs to learn to program. I'd like to do this with him, in the same way that my dad tried to teach me how to be an engineer by getting out the Meccano set. PCs are easy to get to grips with and Phillip already understands how to put together a logical argument.

At the age of six I think he may be ready to start to learn to program. The only question is: what language should we start with? I posed this question to a number of fellow ThoughtWorkers and, unsurprisingly they came back with a variety of answers!

  1. Lisp - "You should teach the guy a proper language and Lisp has everything in it"
  2. Logo - "There nothing more rewarding than drawing a picture with a turtle and it made me what I am today!"
  3. Flash - "Flash is easy to use and there's instant gratification - it is very visual"
  4. Lego Mind Storms - "Its just so cool".
  5. Java - Java is easy to learn and I'm familiar with it.
  6. Javascript - I can't remember why this was a good idea.
So. I'm not certain, but I think I may go with Flash. I like the visual aspects of flash and most of the games and silly things the kids love on the net are made with flash. Wouldn't it be great to write a flash game together including scanned artwork provided by Heather (age 4)....

Time to learn to do stuff with flash. I think I've got about a week before Phillip finishes his latest PS2 game and remembers that dad promised to teach him to code. Should be plenty of time to learn to do something cool in flash!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Flash is a great idea. The most important thing I think is that your son gets some quick feedback...that's why Logo probably came up more than once.

Or if he's learning Java or any other languages, you can write a bunch of libraries and show him how to hook them up (without explaining that most of the work is already done). With instant feedback, he'll get hooked on the fun part, and from there you can teach him more of the real stuff. But if he has to go through the "trouble" of writing a hello, world program he'll probably get bored