On Friday, April 1, 2016 Microsoft’s TEALS program held a Computer Science Fair to 1,600 enthusiastic computer science students and Small Basic was there to talk to the teens and educators who stopped by our booth to learn more about it. We had a demo of a simple program I wrote and let them experience how IntelliSense helps them as they type.
Some of the highlights of the day for me included sharing with students how Small Basic helps break down complex problems, with IntelliSense, informative Help Area and online curriculum, all of which can help them even as they learn more complex languages. Also, because Small Basic is easy to learn and a great next step from Hour of Code, it’s also a great way to reinforce concepts as you learn them by teaching to others, whether to younger siblings, friends or volunteering in the community. I love encouraging others to pass on their knowledge and seeing that light bulb moment happen when they realize they know someone who would love to learn more!
We also got great questions from the students, like
- Can you write an operating system in Small Basic? Well, no. But Small Basic, like all programming languages, as Ed says, a tool in your tool belt, and as you “graduate” from Small Basic, you add more and more. It’s a great foundation to start with and work up from.
- What can you make with Small Basic? I wrote a simple “greeting card” pop up using Flickr to grab a random image and then added text to it, but check out the blog for inspiration! There’s tons of games, you can make an automatic desktop background changer, there’s a new Oculus Rift extension…
- What if I already know Java/C#? I’m teaching myself programming, using Small Basic and have also been following some C# tutorials. Small Basic narrows the scope down to help me focus, gives me additional help and all the curriculum out there helps with the “why” and not just the “how,” where a lot of others focus on the methodology to get something done.