Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Rockport, Texas, USA
    Posts
    9
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Need help with teaching teenager

    I mentor a 13 year old boy with a ton of school and emotional limitation problems. He has expressed some interest in learning how to program. Since I quit programming in Basic at the "go to" statement, I am not the best source... and that was 40 years ago.

    I am looking for some tools/books that would allow me to spend my hour a week teaching him something like VB. I understand enough to make me think we could learn together.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Manning, South Carolina
    Posts
    9,433
    Thanks
    371
    Thanked 1,456 Times in 1,325 Posts
    P.J.

    If you have Excel on the machine you might try teaching him using VBA {Visual Basic for Applications} which is built in.
    The nice thing about this is you can record macros and see what code Excel generates to apply the actions you recorded. Then you can go in and change the code to make it more general, ask for user input, etc. This method might be good in this situation as you can relate the actions recorded to the code created rather than trying to code abstract actions and then testing to see what happens.

    Good luck in your endeavor and good on you for taking on this task.

    P.S. to directly answer your question about books you probablly don't need any for VBA as there are a lot of good free tutorials online. If you want something in print try Mouse Training Free training materials.
    Last edited by RetiredGeek; 2012-05-17 at 11:10.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    PowerShell & VBA Rule!

    My Systems: Desktop Specs
    Laptop Specs

  3. #3
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Rockport, Texas, USA
    Posts
    9
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Thanks

    Many thanks for your suggestions. VBA would be a perfect beginning. I will need to study up to keep one step ahead of him, but well worth the effort.

    BTW, I am not alone in mentoring kids in school. There must be tens of thousands or more out there too. It takes less than an hour a week and mostly you just listen to the kid while you work on some project or whatever. Their grades improve and their behavioral problems are fewer. Likely one of the few times in their lives they have an adult who is there for them and them alone. We are not allowed to meet with them outside of school and that works best.

    For all of you out there: consider becoming a mentor in your local school system. There are tons of kids who would benefit and you get a warm feeling inside as well. You might even save a life and what higher calling in life could there be?

  4. #4
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    4
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    I recommend Visual Studio 2010 Express. This development tool is free from microsoft. Most children in the teenage years will want to create games. So, to keep their interest, write a simple game. Something like a plane flying across the top of the screen. When they get that part going, add a canon at the bottom that fires a projectile when the space bar is touched. When these two pieces are working, add the position resolution so that if a projectile and a plane occupy the same pixel area, you display an explosion or such.

    This is a fairly easy project but yet difficult enough to hopefully pique and keep the students interest.

    Woody

  5. #5
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Rockport, Texas, USA
    Posts
    9
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Thaks Woody,

    The VBA approach was too tough on his ADD. He couldn't sit still to focus on the app. This visual approach might work and could hold his attention.

    Thanks again.

  6. #6
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    16
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Let him eat Pi

    Consider giving him a Raspberry Pi (google it). You have basically described the mission of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. I think the prospect of becoming a member of a "geek kid conspiracy" may do wonders. Plus it's an actual thing and it's cheap.

  7. #7
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    828
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 38 Times in 34 Posts
    How about a visual programming environment such as Logo, or if you want something more tactile, how about Lego Mindstorms? I've played around with both and both yielded almost immediate feedback with very little work. Of course the problem I ran into with my kids is that they wanted to write the equivalent of WoW in an hour or two at the most - the idea that in a few minutes you could gen the computer to print out a Fibonacci sequence or other simple mathematical examples was booooorrrrriiiiinnnnnggggg.
    Other ideas are at: http://lostintentions.com/2009/06/04...ming-for-kids/

  8. #8
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    828
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 38 Times in 34 Posts
    And some more visual programming ideas: http://lunduke.com/?p=1744


  9. #9
    2 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Norwich, England
    Posts
    174
    Thanks
    16
    Thanked 15 Times in 15 Posts
    Scratch might be worth a try. It's freeware and intended as a first programming language for young people. Its editor is very visual, with the intention of reducing the amount of typing involved and thereby the number of mistakes caused by typos and syntax errors.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scratch...ming_language)
    http://scratch.mit.edu

  10. #10
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    38
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 7 Times in 5 Posts
    I was going to recommend Scratch. The other thing you might try (for a more Java-like language) is Greenfoot (http://www.greenfoot.org/door), but for quick gratification try Scratch.

  11. #11
    Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    12,519
    Thanks
    152
    Thanked 1,398 Times in 1,221 Posts
    Here are 5 tools that can be of use: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2011...mming-to-kids/

    It includes Alice, which would be a nice way to start with object oriented programming.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •