TKP Courseware Influences

We often get asked ‘what are the influences’ for TKP courseware? TKP courseware includes TKPJava, TKPSmallBasic and new courseware around Data Science and IoT concepts.

In addition to to the work of the TKP team that has created TKPJava courseware, the team is inspired by many other influences.  These influences are varied and many (and listed below), in particular the ideas in this book inspire many of our lesson concepts:


Teaching Kids Programming

TKPJava and TKPSmallBasic

Curriculum Directions / Influences

Core Ideas


  1. Alan Kay – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Kay (methods of teaching)
  2. Brett Victor – http://worrydream.com/#!/InventingOnPrinciple (methods of teaching)
  3. Seymour Papert – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seymour_Papert (methods of teaching – constructionism / Logo)
  4. Carol Dweck – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carol_Dweck (Mindset book – on learning)
  5. Linda Reising – http://www.lindarising.org/ (Fearless Change book and materials – Agile mindset)
  6. Caitlin Kelleher – http://www.cse.wustl.edu/~ckelleher/ (StoryTelling Alice – on teaching computational thinking to girls)
  7. Kent Beck – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Test-driven_development (Test-driven development and also for XP practices)
  8. Kathy Sierra – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Sierra (creating a series of small and excellent code examples)
  9. David McCandless — http://www.davidmccandless.com/ (Information is Beautiful – data visualization)

Languages and Tools

Current (using or exploring)

Standard Programming Languages and Tools

Kid’s (Visual) Programming Languages

Data-centric or Math-focused languages and tools

Past Experiments

(TKP team tested these platforms/languages and decided to focus on other areas at this time)

  • Scratch
  • Squeak
  • Minecraft
  • Greenfoot
  • KhanAcademy Javascript
  • Codecademy
  • Alice / Storytelling Alice
  • Lego Mindstorms
  • Gamemaker
  • Java/BlueJ
  • Ruby/HacketyHack
  • WeScheme
  • ProjectSpark


Learn GitHub – Screencast series

I struggled through various aspects of GitHub when I first started using it about 2 years ago.  Now it’s become part of my daily routine.  Lately, I’ve gotten more and more requests to answer “What am I sure is a stupid question” from friends.  To that end, I decided to create a short screencast series in which I will show the practicalities of using GitHub.

Commit Yourself and Enjoy!

Part 1 – What is GitHub?

Part 2 – Getting Started with GitHub – Users and Repositories

Part 3 – Working with Repositories – working with push, pull and clone; also performing basic commits to both local and remote repos

Part 4 – Handling Conflict – working with repo branches and forks; performing merges

Part 5 – Bonus – understanding and using data from your Repositories


Teaching Kids Programming update – from Molokai!

View from the balcony of our condo in Molokai

We’re on Molokai for 10 days, teaching kids to program.  We are here due to a travel grant (we are donating our time) from the MONA Foundation.  So, what are we up to here?

We are teaching both kids and teachers.  Each day our schedule is to either train teachers on how to use our TKP courseware with their kids or to directly train kids.

We have a busy schedule – today alone we taught 100 8th graders at Molokai Middle School for their second hour of Java.  Tomorrow we’ll be starting with a total of 60 K-3 students.  We’ll introduce them to programming using the visual game building environment of Kodu.

We also made some changes to our TKP website to support our work here and in the future.  I made a quick video (<2 min. recapping those changes).


Java vs. SmallBasic for Teaching Kids Programming

We’ve been experimenting with porting our TKP (Teaching Kids Programming) recipe library over to Java (from SmallBasic).  We recorded a short video showing a comparison between using the SmallBasic language and editor as it compares to using Java with Eclipse as a student would try out our first recipe (SQUARE).

We are quite interested in your feedback.  What do you think?  Do you teach your own kids to program?  Which language(s) and tool(s) have you used?  What have been your experiences — both good and bad?

TKP courseware targets kids ages 10+.  Our courseware is intended to be fun and useful for both boys and girls.  Since I happen to have a 13-year old daughter, we have a convenient (at home) QA tester of our lessons.  We work with kids who have basic keyboarding (typing) skills, and those that are new to programming.

We are looking to expand our library and best (teaching) practices information at our TKP site to include other languages and we welcome your suggestions.


Hello world!

I am a big data geek and I am going to write about what I am learning along the way in this blog. Topics will include SQL Server, SQL Azure, noSQL, Big Data, Business Intelligence and more.

I am also the co-founder of ‘Teaching Kids Programming’ – I write about that work there