[RE]: [Off topic] learning graphics programming for kids

I know plenty of 10yr olds who are into learning about coding and robotics,
this is fantastic.

A great place to start would be
C for Dummies by Dan Gookin , which may be really hard for a 10y’ol to read,
'cause of the title.

The book comes in one of 2 forms A: a single volume or B: a 2 book set
It doesnt’ matter which format IMHO. The books are very readable, and even
funny at times (many times too :slight_smile:
The chapters are broken into bite size little chunks easy to read while
sitting on the bus ride home, then ready to be played with when you get home.
Mr. Gookin also tells you when it’s time to take a break.

As for a development system, I would (of course) recommend GNU/Linux.
It’s cheap (free even) for a complete development system. and there isn’t all
the overhead of windows.

Once he’s mastered C, another good book for learing C++ (if desired) is
Tom Swan’s GNU C++ for linux, much more boring than Gookin’s books, but still
a great book for learning C++ in a GNU environment.

Beyond that can’t think of any really good books for learning graphics
programming. rather I would like to point out NeHe’s online tutorial on
OpenGL programming. Probably the best and easiest to read on the entire net.

Also I the SDL tutorial is a good thing to read through (after learning C)

The tutorials on NeHe’s site are in C++ and for windows based systems, however
at the bottom of each lesson are source code examples of the lesson, ported
to just about every development environment out there. so one can read the
lesson and then follow the code through writing your own copy and having a
blast doing it.

Other good books to get (but probably not read straight through) are the
OpenGL Super Bible and the “Red Book” aka The OpenGL Programmers Guide.

some good book hunting tips (IMHO) are

look for books w/ complete examples of code, not just code snipits, as for a
newbie snipits can be hard to remember, associate, and the structure gets
lost (loosing the forest through the trees kinda thing)

try to avoid books heavy w/ math, but also at the same time try to look for
books which have some math to help relate and build good logic skills
Most of the concepts in programming can be taught w/ almost no math skills,
and graphics programming needs only a visual throught process, however math
skills are almost certianly required to abstract 3d shapes into comptuer

Well, hope this helps, good luck and have fun.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety
deserve neither liberty nor safety. "
–Benjamin Franklin

Several years ago I had the pleasure of trying to teach a group of kids
age 9 through 12 to program. I found that game programming and cracking
were the only things that motivated them, so we did game programming.

Because it was in a school setting (I was a volunteer teacher) and based
on previous experience we used LOGO. LOGO was very easy for the kids to
learn. We also did a little work with BASIC, but it was hard for the
kids to work with.

The number one lesson I learned came at the very end of the class. The
kids expected to be able to write commercial quality games. Of course,
after one year of grade school instruction they could not do that. I do
not know how they ever got the idea that they would be able to. But,
they did. Several of the kids were completely turned off from
programming when they realized that they had many years of learning to
do before they could write the kind of games they wanted to write.

The lesson is that no matter what you use to teach the child, you have
to manage expectations. Unrealistic expectations can lead to a negative
outcome, no matter how well or how quickly the person is learning.

You also need to keep in mind the children go through a number of
different cognitive levels as their minds/brains develop. Most young
children are not capable of the abstract thinking needed to any kind of
programming beyond simple series of commands. The ability to understand
things like “if” statements comes in at one age, while the ability to
deal with “for” statements comes along at another. (And a lot of people
never get to where they can understand recursion :slight_smile:

Working with such a wide range of ages I saw that the younger kids never
did get concepts that the older kids picked up in seconds. The group
should have been divided into at least two, and maybe three, age based
classes. The younger kids became very frustrated at their inability to

So, be careful and get tools that are appropriate for the developmental
level of the child and try to set expectations that are also appropriate
to the developmental level of the child.

	Bob PendletonOn Fri, 2003-06-20 at 06:40, Samuel wrote:

I know plenty of 10yr olds who are into learning about coding and robotics,
this is fantastic.


  • Bob Pendleton: independent writer +
  • and programmer. +
  • email: Bob at Pendleton.com +