Linux Format

A PARENT’S GUIDE TO PROGRAMMING

Let’s start with a history lesson. The first high-level languages – which made their debut in the 1950s and included the likes of FORTRAN, ALGOL and COBOL – were designed as down-to-earth tools with little thought given to education. This changed in 1964 with the introduction of BASIC. The language’s acronym hints at its nature, and its full name, Beginners All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code further emphasises its educational credentials.

Indeed, BASIC was designed for use by students who had little appreciation of computers. It outlived many other languages of that era, having been adopted for use in the home computers of the late 70s and the 80s and, in so doing, helped another generation learn to code.

While BASIC remained largely unchallenged for several decades, if you want to help your children learn to code today then it’s not nearly as easy to choose a language. For a start, there are now several other languages that were designed exclusively, or almost so, for education. Furthermore, any discussion of beginners’ languages invariably brings up various languages which, although not originally intended for such, are considered to have a role in education.

We’re here to help parents to navigate their way through the language jungle to come to a view about which would be the

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