Featured Forum – Small Basic: Students and Teachers on an MSDN forum? What the???


This is our first Wednesday Featured Forum blog post! Booya!

Let's get started with the banner of awesomeness...

Forum Ninjas Blog

So, what is the Small Basic forum?

Check it out:

https://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/home?forum=smallbasic

 

I first came in contact with this little bit of fantastic, in late 2012. September, to be exact:

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/smallbasic/page/54/

About a year after starting our Wiki Ninjas forum.

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So how did I learn about the Small Basic product? A free educational Microsoft product (that teaches kids to code) that I help lead and wrote a book about?

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/user_ed/2016/06/21/book-info-reviews-learn-to-program-with-small-basic-an-introduction-to-programming-with-games-art-science-and-math-by-dr-majed-marji-ed-price/

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What a great question!

Well, LitDev came to me:

https://social.msdn.microsoft.com/profile/litdev

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I was helping get forums built up with forum moderation teams. So he came wanting help by making more of the forum leaders (teachers and adults who are passionate about educating kids and students of all ages in how to code) into Answerers/Moderators, so they could help moderate the forum.

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And that's when I saw that the Small Basic forum (which is here -- https://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/home?forum=smallbasic -- remember?)  is full of students (a ton of teenagers, but I've seen younger and much, much older) and educators (actual teachers or CS pros with a passion to educate). Educators and Students? Kids? On an MSDN Forum? Something odd was afoot. (No odd feet, though.)

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That's when I saw how crazy Small Basic is. It's the only language + IDE that teaches kids how to code:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/14114.the-unique-features-of-small-basic.aspx

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Now venture with me as we get a taste of that craziness in the Small Basic forum: https://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/home?forum=smallbasic

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First, we have the usual monthly Small Basic Guru announcement... a contest for the best monthly wiki article about Small Basic:

https://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/de8ed872-ff37-4d95-b7e2-be8393851b19/calling-all-small-basic-gurus-november-readers-need-feeding?forum=smallbasic

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Sure. That's crazy awesome, but we see that in forums all over MSDN/TechNet. That's what we Wiki Ninjas do.
But what else?
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Next, we have the Monthly Challenges, where LitDev posts challenges and then the rest of the community does them and they collaborate on the code, learning together in the most fun and natural way:

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But I've already blogged about that type of monthly post:
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Next, we have monthly Community Challenges linked from the main thread (that I mentioned two links above). Those are isolated challenges designed by other folks, like this one about creating a free-hand drawing program:
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Freehand picture of a fish

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Next, we have a thread I started, about moving the product forward. We usually have a thread stickied about this, whether it's trying to get a program featured on the blog, about new features that are upcoming (the topic of this one), or reporting bugs or feature requests. So this particular one is all about tracking a blog post series that paints a picture about the features and journey for the next release of Small Basic:
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And finally, we have a common Forum thread, that urges you to follow some simple guidelines:
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You'll notice that thread was written in 2010, the Small Basic creator Vijaye posted on it, but it was last edited/updated in 2015.
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On that topic, Small Basic is one of the only forums I know that has a Wiki article dedicated to how to use the forum:
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And that's it!
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All I did above, is give you a brief tour of the STICKIED threads on the Small Basic forum!!!
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Maybe some day will get into the amazing content on the rest of the forum! But until then...
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Are you Forum or against ’em?
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    – Ninja Ed
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Comments (2)

  1. pituach says:

    Great choice Ed, thanks for sharing 🙂

    Let me quote something you said, which I totally agree: “if anyone here has kids, grandkids, nieces, or nephews, I recommend checking out Small Basic for them”.

    It is a great starting point for children, as they can get very fast visual result, which give the feeling of success. This why I think Web application is a good starting point as well.

    1. Thanks Ronen! And the truth is that the knowledge of programming can be leveraged into many different disciplines in technology! A knowledge of development helps you communicate with developers, and that’s an advantage for all disciplines, including Marketing and Business!

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