Pluralsight Released Scratch and C# Programming Courses for Young Kids

Pluralsight has announced the availability of two new courses based on Scratch (developed by MIT) and C# programming languages specifically targeted for kids above 10+. The Scratch programming demonstrates the development of interesting programs and will be useful for those kids who are interested in computer science, mathematics or gaming.

Authored by Dr. Joe Hummel, a visiting professor in the Department of Information and Computer Science at the University of California with a specialty in high performance computing, the whole course has been divided into 8 chapters with several modules.

The first two chapters examine the installation process of Scratch 1.4 on both Windows and Mac OS X. The remaining content focuses on coordinate systems, selection, repetition, variables and patterns. The course spans over 2 hours and has been tagged under beginner level.

Joe also provided demos and mini tests including homework questions and finishes the course by providing few project suggestions and tips.

“In Scratch, program flow is modelled visually. To me that’s quite a bit simpler than having to learn the syntax of a language like VB to write a for loop. Scratch is designed to help people learn to program,” says Keith Brown, Chief Technology Officer, Pluralsight.

The C# course from the house of Teaching Kids Programming courseware library covers objects, methods, variables and for loops in a fun and creative way using Visual Studio and has been authored by Llewellyn Falco and Lynn Langit.

The authors examine each concept with the help of source codes and also included quiz and several homework questions. This course has been allotted a time span of one hour and has been tagged under beginner level.

As with other Pluralsight courses, Kids can directly jump to learn a specific topic and will have an ability to access exercise files and assessments if they have purchased a monthly/annual plus subscription plan.

Learnxpress had a brief chat with Aaron Skonnard, President and CEO, Pluralsight to know more about these new courses meant for kids.

Learnxpress : Do you think kids are smart enough to learn programming languages such as C#?

Definitely. I just had my 11 and 14 year old boys take the Teaching Kids Programming (TKP) in C# course and they had no issues.

The important thing is not so much the language you choose but rather “how” you choose to teach it. Lynn and Llewellyn use the intentional method of learning, where they ask children to translate English into code one line at a time. They ask the kids to make certain things happen (the intention) without explaining exactly how to do it and they guide the children in figuring it out.

It’s a very effective and compelling way of learning. The TKP courseware is also available in Java and Small Basic, but Pluralsight only has the C# course available right now. However, we do intend to cover many different languages, as illustrated by our Scratch programming course for kids.

The Scratch course is designed for kids to go through by themselves (independently) whereas the TKP course is designed for parents or teachers to do with the children (as the mentor).

Although guiding kids through the TKP course is most effective, kids can also go through the TKP course on their own, which is what my own son did last night. He finished the entire course in a few hours.

Learnxpress: Can you share with us the future roadmap for kids courses?

We are planning to publish more TKP courses that use Java and Small Basic. We’re also working on some new kids courses on App Inventor, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Lego Mindstorms (and more). We hope to have dozens of kids courses by the end of the year.

“Parents can get access to Visual Studio Express, free of charge, to use with our Teaching Kids Programming course. Most professional developers working on the Microsoft platform will already have a paid version of Visual Studio but the Express editions work just fine with our course,” said Aaron when Learnxpress asked him why the C# course authors make use of Visual Studio for teaching C#.

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