by: Scott Ford
Looking to introduce your friends and family to the wonderful world of computing? In the honor of Hour of Code and Computer Science Education Week, here are some great resources for students of all ages and skill levels:
Scratch (http://scratch.mit.edu) is a great environment for learning to make the computer do things. Fun things, like move a monkey around on the screen. I made a small project to celebrate Computer Science Education Week, and to think the teachers that got me started. (http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/15283467/).
Scratch's drag and drop interface helps create an intimate relationship with the different operations that it provides. It reminds me a lot of playing with Lego.
If you'd like to try typing out commands, then I highly recommend taking a peek at Logo (http://el.media.mit.edu/logo-foundation/logo/turtle.html).
To see Logo in action, visit http://www.calormen.com/jslogo/, click on an example in the sidebar and then click on the "Run" button.
If you'd like to take a stab at making the world around you light up and move, then I suggest taking a peek at littleBits (http://littleBits.cc). These little devices make creating hardware computing projects dead simple. No wiring. No soldering. Just magnets and fun!
Interesting in trying to mix software and hardware together? Then check out Lego Mindstorms (http://mindstorms.lego.com). Lego Mindstorms centers around a smart Lego brick, that you can program (with Logo!) and make your creations move. There are even some school teams that compete with each other to build little bots that perform specific tasks (http://www.firstlegoleague.org).
So go forth! Have fun! And make your computer and other devices around you do things. It's fun and rewarding.
Scott is a Code Whisperer at Corgibytes (http://corgibytes.com). There he works hard to breath new life into old software projects.