So you want to learn to program…

When I was 8, my father gave me my first computer. There were two things I could do on this computer; program or write. I found programming to be much more interesting! So with a little bit of support from my father, and a copy of the Wang BASIC reference manual, I began the long process of teaching myself how to program.

Here is basically what you need to learn how to program:

  1. A goal. Decide on what you want to make. You may find that you can’t make it, but there will probably be some small part of it you can get started on.
  2. You need resources to help with syntax and structure. This could be a good book, or a website, a class, or any combination of the above. I tried programming classes a couple of times and found them pretty boring, but this likely does not apply to every programming class. There are lots of interesting books on learning how to program in a variety of languages.
  3. The patience to struggle, especially in the beginning. When you are first getting started, programming is like non-stop problem solving. It is challenging! 
  4. Time. Learning to program, and to do it well, is not something you pick up in an afternoon.

If this is something you are interested in, you can join a new section of the Edtech community on Google+. This is basically intended to be a peer support group, along with (hopefully) some mentors to help people get started, and to help people when they get stuck. While I cannot promise that joining this group will guarantee that you will learn how to program, I think it will help. Just be willing to lurk, and if needed, ask questions in the “Learn to Program” discussion forum of the group.

P.S. If you know anything about programming and are willing to help out, please join the group and introduce yourself in the section called “Learn to Program.” At the very least, feel free to offer suggestions for starting places for teachers.

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