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[_] Should kids learn C++ or PHP

Robin Layfield robin at
Sat Jul 13 22:27:15 BST 2013

Has anyone looked at this 

Hakitzu: the app teaching kids to code

It’s a great concept; the real joy of coding is seeing the end result in front of you on screen. Feedback for you code probably doesn’t get much more subjective than this.

I accept that it has pretty limited real-world application but as someone said previously if you want to engage people with code you have to give them a quick visual and emotional payoff.

Robin Layfield
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On 13 July 2013 at 22:11:11, Oliver Humpage (oliver at wrote:

On 13 Jul 2013, at 02:55, Katja Durrani wrote:  

> For example, there seems to be some benefit from just copying code by typing it in yourself, see that it works, see that you can achieve different results by modifying it. Basically, see that you have control over the code and the results. Then start to understand what it does.  

That's how I started making stuff. Particularly fun with the RoboTEK and some technic lego ( - yup, mindstorms in 1983!). But then I'm fundamentally a terrible and messy coder, so there are no guarantees: personally I blame it all on Spectrum BASIC.  

When thinking of school IT lessons, though, I can't help comparing with school music lessons. In a normal class you've got a few kids who are good at it, a couple more who are willing to give it a stab to see what happens, and a load more who are completely incapable and probably always will be: music isn't everyone's thing, in the same way coding isn't. Trying to devise lessons to suit such a situation is hellish, and generally very boring for everyone.  

Perhaps if "basic concepts of what IT/music is" lessons were compulsory, but any hands-on lessons were optional, it might ensure that at least *some* kids got to learn. I'm aware there are many inclusivity problems with that approach though. Perhaps at least a GUI-based thing for some, and code-based for others?  


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