Follow Me! Programming

Friday I sat between my 6- and 7-year old grandsonsĀ at their kitchen table. Each of us had our computer in front of us with LiveCode opened and ready to go. We all sat on the same side of the table so they could see my screen. The air was thick with anticipation.

Earlier last week I had received valuable advice from my friend Larry Walker in Wisconsin. He has been through a good bit of trial and error helping kids learn LiveCode, and evenĀ holds an “App Academy” class at the Madison Children’s Museum. The main nugget that got through to me was: Don’t even mention the tools or programming concepts. Just use a “follow me” method to assure their success. He also gave me tips on where to begin.

So I said “follow me” and we began.

We made LiveCode say several things including the obligatory “Hello World” three different ways, including literal speech.

Then we created a program that moved an onscreen ball around the perimeter of a random shape we each drew. It took one line of code:

move graphic “ball” to the points of graphic “shape” in 2 seconds

I love the way LiveCode makes it possible to do complex things with simple code.

My little guys aren’t great typists – heck, they can barely read and write – so that took all the time we had. When we were done, they immediately began to show their Dad what they had accomplished and were asking questions about how to modify their code so it would do this or that. When I left, he was digging into the LiveCode Dictionary, helping them find answers.

Mission accomplished.

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