Need Rec: Book to teach about computers and BASIC at an eight year old level

Tomasz Rola rtomek at
Sat Jun 4 18:28:13 CDT 2016

On Sat, Jun 04, 2016 at 05:43:44PM +0200, Tomasz Rola wrote:
> On Fri, May 27, 2016 at 03:04:07PM -0700, Ali wrote:
> > > I was going to suggest he introduce the lad to a wide range of
> > > languages, especially non-procedural ones, and outliers such as Forth
> > > and APL.  It's much easier to grasp the concepts (and joy) of things
> > > like functional programming if you're exposed to them before
> > > confirmation bias limits your acceptance of the world.
> > 
> > Yes, of course that makes assumptions on my knowledge level as well....
> > which does not quite extend to Forth or APL. 
> Sorry for the late chime in, as I usually do. I am yet to read the
> whole thread, so if my suggestions have been already suggested by
> someone else, sorry for the noise too.
> In case my wording makes you think otherwise, those are just humble
> suggestions.
> Now, learning "older languages" bears some stigma, right? Not in my
> opinion, however. If you teach the young guy with intention to make
> him wiser, do not use cheap copout. Or at least if you must, be
> careful so he does not stick with it.
> BTW, one word: demoscene, if you can. Either classical one (there are
> new demoes written for old comps, there are sites devoted to them) or
> some kind of modern incarnation. For LOGO, Andrea diSessa' book
> (forgot English title, the Polish ed's title is "Geometria zolwia" or
> "Turtle Geometry") - extremely interesting, with stuff like drawing
> models of space-time and the like.

Ouch. I have left out Harold Abelson as the co-author. So here it is,
full size mention: "Turtle Geometry" by Hal Abelson and Andrea
diSessa. I have not meant to disrespect anybody's work.

And by demos I mean they can be either those cute audio-video
programming performances or stuff one does by oneself for
fun. Printing one's own Postscript file in which there is a program
making one of those fancy patterns of rotated squares qualifies
too. And there is instant gratification in it, well, kind of at
least... Something touchable to show off to friends - a sheet of paper
with b/w patterns (or fractals).

Fractals can be made in BASIC, too.

> Ok, to sum it up:
> 1. Curiosity is a key. He can learn about the world by programming
> computer the right way. (at least this is what I have heard)
> 2. Language is a tool. Teach him this one thing ASAP, he can choose
> better tool.

3. As an afterthought, I wonder if you could make it somehow similar
to pair programming.

Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at             **

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