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What is programming?

If you are a parent trying to explain computer programming to your preschooler or elementary age child, you may think the topic is beyond their grasp. The truth is the concept can be quite simple.

Programming is defined as the act of developing instructions to tell a computer to do a certain task.

To illustrate this to kids I’ll simply them a set of instructions by playing the classic game Simon says. I am the programming giving instructions to the computers (the kids).

But what if I were to give my instructions in a language the kids couldn’t understand (like Russian or French, for example)? Would the kids be able to follow those instructions? Well, no, of course not.

Therefore when we are providing instructions to a computer we need to use a language the computer understands. These are programming languages.

There are all kinds of programming languages out there, even some young children can learn like Blockly a visual programming language developed by Google and used in MIT’s app Scratch.

2 Responses to What is programming?

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