« Today's birthdays: Traces and echoes | Main | Life update »

Funny bit from Khan Academy

| No Comments

I was curious about Khan Academy's Computer Science category; in particular, whether it does a good job of introducing programming to novices.

I haven't gotten far enough to see what I think of it yet. But the Welcome to Computer Science video made me laugh out loud in the first minute, with this bit:

The language you'll be coding in is called JavaScript, which is what lots of web pages are written in, including Khan Academy. But if your mom who is a programmer ever looks over your shoulder and says, “Hey, that doesn't look like JavaScript!”, you can be like, “Mo-om! That's because I'm using a library called ‘Processing’ on top of JavaScript! Duh! Stop looking at me.”

The rest of that intro video is also charming and fun and nicely playful. I suspect it goes by a little fast for beginners (I wonder if there's a way to slow down the videos?), but it gives me hope that they might actually provide a good intro to programming in the subsequent videos. And I think it's really cool that they're using Processing; a similar idea to the old “learn to program using Turtle Graphics” approach, but (imo) much more powerful and compelling.

Another bit I liked, from the next video in the sequence:

And if you're thinking “What the heck did she just do?” then good. That means you're thinking.

One weird and annoying thing to be aware of if you look at these videos: to get some videos to play, you may need to double-click the little green Play button, instead of standard single-click-to-play.

Post a comment