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