Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Learning Programming with Kids

At Christmas, I began teaching my 8-year old son, Ben, programming using Radio Userland. Though I've have used Frontier, Manila and Radio regularly for the past few years, my attempt was not so much to teach as to learn a few steps ahead of him. He was fairly interested in learning how to program, and I was really interested in the possibility. We actually explored Visual Studio .NET for a short time, but there are so many layers of complexity that separate you from the very simple thing you want to accomplish, particularly for an 8-year old! Radio is great because at its base is just a script and a table. It is so easy to show immediate action and clear cause and effect.

Unfortunately, I am starting to move away from the Userland tools, as evidenced by this weblog, so I'm beginning to research alternatives, including ones specific to the Macintosh. In my research over the past year, I have yet to find a high-quality, accessible environment for young ones, but I continue to have faith that there is one out there.