Slides for Ben Gotow’s lightning talk at Click 2014.
Ben runs Foundry 376, a mobile development shop based in Nashville. He studied Human Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon, with a focus in educational technology.
Challenges and Considerations for Teaching
Programming to Kids
§ Give children the tools to be creators and empower
them to build.
§ Programming teaches:
§ Logic and reasoning
§ Emotional development
§ How other subjects can be applied
Teaching is hard.
§ To learn to program, you need to build a mental
model of the environment you’re working in. Fail,
understand what happened, try again.
§ Failure is extremely frustrating, and school teaches us
that failure is bad.
§ Help students think through failure, build hypotheses,
and decide what to try next.
§ Treat failure as well as success as progress in learning.
§ Everyone learns at different rates, and this is
especially true of programming.
§ Self guided practice time leads to unchecked learning.
§ Small groups are awesome.
§ Enlist students to help their classmates learn.
§ Allow students to make their own projects so work isn’t
§ Once students start building off their own ideas,
they’ll ask about things you don’t know.
§ “When I send an email, how does it know where to
go?” -‐ Kindergartener
§ Show students how to use online resources.
§ Use class time to reinforce debugging and problem
solving skills, let students learn speciUic tools on their
§ Once students get through introductory materials,
there often aren’t right answers.
§ Help students create goals and establish whether
they’ve reached their goals.
§ Focus on what