Rocky Mountain College * Department of Computer Science * 406 208 3193 * turn on javascript to see my email

Computer programming for elementary and junior high students? Easier than you think!

WARNING: This page is still under construction

This session will include a significant workshop element. Some of these programs require fairly large downloads, so it's best if you can try and install the software on your computer before you arrive. However, we will try to have some USB drives and/or CD/DVDs around during the presentation in case you are unable to install the software ahead of time.

The software products that we'll talk about are:

  • Scratch from MIT. The download page is here and the current version as of the presentation is version 1.4. Runs on Mac, Windows and Linux.
  • Looking Glass by Washington University of St. Louis. Download page is here, and page describing some of the educational studies and experience with "Storytelling Alice" (the predecessor to Looking Glass) is here. Runs on Mac, Windows and Linux.
  • LightBot (alternate link here). Not designed as educational software -- it's a flash game, so it's not installable. Unfortunately, that means it may not be available through your school's firewall. But it's a serious (while covert) way to introduce students to programming where people who nothing about programming can still enjoy the game, and my college students who are computer science majors still are challenged by the higher levels.
You know we're constantly taking. We don't make most of the food we eat, we don't grow it, anyway. We wear clothes other people make, we speak a language other people developed, we use a mathematics other people evolved and spent their lives building. I mean we're constantly taking things. It's a wonderful ecstatic feeling to create something and put it into the pool of human experience and knowledge. -- Steve Jobs, Rolling Stone, November 1983.