Sunday, April 7, 2013

Computer Science for Kids: A TOS Crew Review

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Computer Science for Kids  -
Beginning Microsoft Small Basic & Computer Bible Games For Microsoft Small Basic 

From their website:
"The Beginning Microsoft Small Basic Programming Tutorial  is a self-study first semester "beginner" programming tutorial consisting of 11 chapters explaining (in simple, easy-to-follow terms) how to write Microsoft Small Basic programs.  It expands in more depth on the topics outlined in the introductory Small Basic Powerpoint Beta Tutorial by Microsoft.  The last chapter of this tutorial shows you how  four different Small Basic games could port to Visual Basic, Visual C#  and  Java.   This beginning level self-paced tutorial can be used at home or at school."   This tutorial is appropriate for kids, teens and adults.

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Digital E-Tutorial Instant Internet Download
Single User License
On Sale - $34.95

(Click here for other purchase options)
 COMPUTER BIBLE GAMES FOR MICROSOFT SMALL BASIC "A self-paced "beginner" programming tutorial for Middle-School students.  This tutorial consists of 13 chapters explaining (in simple, easy-to-follow terms) how to build Computer Bible Games and educational games in Small Basic.  The Computer Bible Games built include:   Noah's Ark, Daniel and the Lions, Elijah and the Ravens, The Good Shepherd, The Prodigal Son, The Lost Coin, Bible Scramble, and Bible Tic-Tac-Toe.  Other learning projects include a card game, an allowance calculator, a drawing program, a state capitals game, and a video game,  This tutorial is appropriate for kids, teens and adults."

Instant Internet  "Download Only" Digital E-Book Edition
Single User License
On Sale - $34.95

(click here for other purchase options)

The Bentz Test Laboratory has students that are way beyond me in technology skills.  In fact, I bet if you have a could be in the same situation.  Children today, are very tech-savy, so teaching computer science is a necessary skill. Plus, learning programming skills is a great critical thinking & logic exercise - but, it looks more like fun to them!

I choose my 9th grade tester for this project.  He is very excited to learn some to the "how they do that" behind his favorite programs.

Microsoft Small Basic was very easy to install and begin. There are 11 chapters (in a 500+ page course) .  I printed the chapter notes out for him (you can choose either a PDF or a Word file) and turned him loose!  I love that this is a self-study program.  While I would love to understand the fine detail of computer programming...I really do not have the time to learn a completely new subject for me, and then teach it to him.  Computer Science for Kids has made my job so much easier by writing directly to my student.

He worked on one lesson a week for this review period, spending 2-3 hours total (the course recommends 3-6 hours per lesson - he worked through it faster).

The lesson notes are written very clearly and are well organized.  They include screenshot pictures to illustrate as well.  My tester had no problem working independently. After some history, and introductions, he was learning how to debug and identify programming code errors.  By lesson 4, he was writing his own computer code!  He commented, "Hey, look at this mom... all this just to calculate savings, I can't imagine how long the codes must be for the average video game!"  By lesson 5, he had taken what he had learned, modified it a bit - and was writing his own programming code.  He also added a bit more here and there to the lesson's script, he told me he made it a bit more "personable" with a "hello" :-)  He has started using his newfound skills to play jokes on his brothers too.  He designed a code to ask them a favorite animal, then added a silly response from the computer (all in computer code)  Now, his brothers can't wait to learn it themselves!

He is very impressed with Microsoft Small Basic and cannot wait to finish it and move on to the next course.  You can check out a sample to see for yourself.

The Computer Bible Games for Microsoft Basic covers much of the same information - but adds an extra couple of lessons so that your child can learn to build several Bible themed games instead of secular games. 

Overall, the Bentz Test Laboratory was very impressed with Computer Science for Kids.  Don't miss out on the great sale price through July 4, 2013.

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew

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