Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Beginner Developer Learning Center

One of the questions I get all the time is “I have a student/child/nephew/daughter/etc who wants to learn programming on their own. Where should they go?” My answer is always the Beginner Developer Learning Center and from there to the Kid’s Corner. I may also recommend Popfly as a starting place because it is so much fun. But if they are interested in more than mashups and games, which many of them are, the Kid’s Corner is the place to start. Well this week the Kid’s Corner went though a complete re-design and re-launch and it is better than ever.

The same great resources that were there before are still there but there are some great new ones as well. One of them that I particularly love is a new video on classes and objects. This video is 10 minutes long and features a bunch of kids explaining objects, classes, inheritance, and more using themselves and cardboard boxes as examples. The language is suitable for students as young as middle school without losing the important parts of the concepts. It may be the best 10 minute explanation of objects and classes I have ever seen.

There is also a seven minute explanation of what the Internet is and how it works. This is also suitable for younger students. I can see it being used by a lot of computer literacy classes. I’m sending a link to it to my 83 year old father too.

Everything at the new version of the site is rated Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced to help people select where they should start. So for home schoolers, after school programs, individuals who want to learn on their own or even teachers looking for supplemental resources this is a great place to start. Of course teachers will also want to make sure they check out the resources at the Pre-Collegiate Faculty Connection site as well.

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