Saturday, 6 April 2013

Computer Science for Kids - TOS Review

Computer Science for Kids provide simple computer programming tutorials that make writing code easy.

We opted to review their Beginning Microsoft Small Basic. This is an 11 chapter, self- paced curriculum that teaches you basic programming skills - you learn how to programme a noughts & crosses game, number guessing game, card game, state capital game, basic video game etc. 

Beginning Microsoft Small Basic came as download ebook that included both PDF and Word documents for each chapter, as well as all the "code" needed for the lessons (came as a zip so was very quick to download).

You do not need any prior programming experience to use this course but they do advise that you be familiar with using windows.

Each chapter has easy to follow step by step instructions including screen shots of what you should be doing. The course is self paced but they do advise completing one chapter a week for 10 weeks. Each week's class should take around 3-5 hours - that said, the first two were fairly easy and took just over 1 1/2 hours to complete but the latter chapters are more involved and are taking longer (about 4 hours)
I printed the first chapter, sat down and we started going through it together. It is fairly easy to understand, basically you open Small Basic, type in the code from the lesson and once you have everything entered hit run, then the programme you wrote opens in another window. If you have made an error in the code the program tells which line/character is wrong so you can correct it. Lilly was really pleased when she input the information correctly and her program worked. I didn't print the subsequent chapters but opened them in a separate window alongside the working window which made it much easier.

I must to confess, I was very nervous prior to this review as I have no programming experience and was unsure how well I would cope with overseeing this programme. I am glad to say it was much easier than I imagined : )

Don't let the fear of programming put you off - this is a wonderfully easy curriculum to use and  it has given Lilly great confidence and encouraged her to experiment more with our computer.

Beginning Microsoft Small Basic is $59.95 but it is currently on sale for $34.95 until July 4th and is recommended for ages 10 and up.

The course requires XP-SP2, Vista or Windows 7 and the ability to view and print documents in Microsoft word.

You can see what my crew mates thought over at the TOS Blog

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