Last night I hobbled my way down a city street, complete with crutches and an air cast, to get Jordan to the inaugural meeting of the First Bytes Society in Pittsburgh. FirstBytes is the brainchild of Nate Good. He’s the CTO for a Pittsburgh IT company.
Learning how to program isn’t just for the “nerds”, the straight A students or even for the future computer scientists. It’s for everyone. ~ FirstBytes.org
Why First Bytes Society Exists
J (we do call him that at home) has always loved everything to do with computers*. Yet Nate’s idea is that everyone should know how a computer works and why. Computers made the world smaller yet not everyone knows how to program one to do what they want.
That’s where FirstBytes comes in. I didn’t go to college to learn to be a software programmer. I learned by trial and error. That’s the first thing on First Byte’s Manifesto.
You can participate, too!
Did I mention how J just beamed from ear to ear last night? Oh, my, that kid could have lit up Los Angeles with the wattage coming from his body. You could feel the energy coming from the other kids, too. The joy they exuded when they could see before their very eyes, instantly, the code they typed doing something.
You can program along at home with us!
The FirstBytes program is all online. There is a handy and very easy Help menu with everything you need.
The one thing you won’t get is the introductory lesson: How to make a robot make you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. When you program a computer you must remember that it is stupid and will do exactly what you tell it to do.
If you give it a garbage instruction you will get a garbage output.
Watch these kids try to tell their Teacher Robot how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Nate did this for the kids last night and it was just as hilarious.
If your kid creates a smiley face or some other fun picture in FirstBytes open sourceware please share it with the rest of us on our Facebook page!
The most important thing I learned about FirstBytes
It’s one thing to know that you can create a Minecraft resource pack that has over 10,000 downloads. or to have your mom, a former computer software developer and designer, tell you your code is great.
All of that is online, though, in a vacuum and I am just a mom.
What J got out of last night was having “real” programmers who are working in the industry today tell him that he knows a lot. It was also great to be in a group of kids who love computers just as much as you do, in real life, up close and personal.
All of the kids were happy and joyful learning together. It was a beautiful thing.
Share Your Creations With Us!
Can you replicate this smiling face? If your kid creates a smiley face or some other fun picture in FirstBytes open sourceware please share it with the rest of us on our Facebook page!
* Other Computer Programming We Have Tried
- When he was 12 we took him to a book store and told him he had $30 to spend on whatever he wanted. Instead of coming back with comic books and CD’s he came back with a tome of Java programming.
- We have tinked around with other computer programming lessons online.