Kids & Java

We've been having lots of fun at home with my favorite "other" Java IDE: BlueJ. It's an IDE specifically designed around teaching programming. It's used extensively in Universities, High Schools and Middle Schools. It takes the rather unusual tack of teaching programming by not starting off with programming: instead they start with objects and have a visual way to enable students to manipulate them directly. This develops intuitions about the nature of objects. They also have a great textbook that goes with it.

My wife (who was a programmer aeons ago, but in Fortran) has been teaching herself and our 7 year old how to program using BlueJ. They've been real happy with it. The 7 year old's biggest problem is that her reading isn't quite good enough. Gotta work on that.

When I was a kid, I was considered a freak, starting to program when I was 13. These days, it's normal. Coolness...

November 14, 2005