Teaching 3rd Grader Computer ProgrammingOS24Ever writes "When I was a youngster, about 30 years ago now, there was a plethora of these things called 'magazines' that you 'paid for' that people would "mail you" once a month. In them, where pages and pages of code for you to type into your computer. In fact, if you can imagine it, they had programs for different brands of computers because the same program didn't work on all of them. They had cool names like Compute! and Byte and for a person with limited math skills it still taught you language structure and lots of debugging because god knows no one types in something from a magazine perfectly. It also taught me to hack. Once I learned that POKEing in the right place changed colors I started customizing my desktop colors every time my trusty Atari 800 turned on.
Recently, I was enjoying an episode of MacBreak Dev and my oldest, who is just about to turn eight, exclaimed on how she HAD to try that. It was an episode of using Quartz Compser and a Wiimote along with some IR LEDs on a pair of glasses. So I sat there realizing that in third grade the Apple IIe at school, and later the Atari 800 (which still works thank you) appeared into my life at the age of eight. I learned how to type in programs from a few of the BASIC manuals, and then I discovered that there were magazines that had these programs in them I could type in. Sure now you have this newfangled copy & paste, and you don't have to go to the library and join the atari users club so you can 'check out' cassette tapes that had BASIC programs on them and realize you can save them to your own tape after you loaded them. Now you download random programs, you can cut/paste code snippets, but the exploration of typing something in off a sheet of paper and pushing a button to see if it works doesn't seem to exist. in fact by the late 80s it really had died out already.
So my question for those of us who have produced spawn or two and would like to encourage this type of thing but may or may not be that good of educating or not sure how to break down concepts are there any resources like that out there? Where you say 'here, type this stuff in and get it to work' and the reward is a lame little game that you finally got to work on your Atari 800 after weeks and weeks of typing and proofreading and losing it to a failed cassette tape that you bounced off the basement wall in frustration."