One of the first concepts coming up when we talk about the Codelearn method and what we teach the kids through our platform is “programming languages“.
A programming language is a communication system which enables software developers to give instructions to the machines. The same way it happens with languages, some of which can share phrase structures or use similar vocabulary but others can be completely different from each other, every programming language has its own syntax and semantic rules.
Thus, through written instructions that follow the logics of a particular language, software developers give precise orders to computers and other machines to get a particular action from it, like a mathematical operation or the creation or suppression of a document, amongst other simple and complex actions.
The complexity of every language vary, as well as its uses. At the beginning, Codelearn students will talk mainly about three languages: Logo, Karel and Scratch. At a later stage, however, they will learn lots of different programming languages that are really popular, such as Phyton, C++ and Java.
Logo is a programming language that was created for didactical purposes, specifically to teach computational thinking, and it is one of the most used with kids. Thanks to this language, we can teach kids programming through games and in a very intuitive manner. Codelearn students’ first adventures are indeed with the Logo turtle, a small robot that can receive simple instructions that make it move into the indicated direction —and, as a result of these moves, it can make draws and graphics by following the turtle’s path.
Karel is a robot simulator that is used a lot as a beginner programming tool. But why is it so useful for programming beginners? Because the logics and the way of thinking of computers is not the same as the humans one: machines work in a more rigid manner, as they follow precise sequences and need to do everything step by step (and that is exactly how we will give instructions to the Karel robot so he does what we want it to do), while humans can be more flexible and skip some steps or follow different ones to get where we want because it is already clear for us the action we would like to do.
Therefore, Karel helps students to learn in an orderly manner and, by doing so, force them to understand and start adopting the machines way of thinking and acting so they can efficiently communicate with them by using any kind of programming language.
You have probably heard the name “Scratch”, as nowadays it is very used in some schools because it is a really good tool for programming starters. While with Logo and Karel what we were looking for was to learn how machines think, in Scratch’s case our main goal is that kids start learning to develop their own projects (much bigger and more complex) and guide them so they become capable to create their own programs.
Therefore, it is a programming language with a set of instructions much larger than the previous two, but it works in a completely different way because programs in Scratch are built by dragging and dropping blocks, which reduces the possibility of making syntax mistakes. That is why, even if Scratch allows us to make lots of things, it is considered as an introductory language.
With Python, Codelearn students have their first contact with a real programming language. We are talking about one of the most used languages in the world, which is flexible because it accepts various styles and allows to build more and more complex programs.
When the students reach the Python adventure, the main goal is that they can start developing its own programs in an autonomous and easy way, but with the additional difficulty of having to write themselves all the instructions instead of build them through previously made blocks like it happened when they used Scratch.
It is another of the most popular programming languages today and, in fact, it was created as an extension for another existent language (C). It is very versatile and potent, but one of its best features is that it is didactic: by knowing how to use C++ one can learn other programming languages such as C#, Java or PHP.
We think this quality is one of the most significant because it helps us achieve one of our main goals, which is that Codelearn students have a wide knowledge base so, in case that one of the programming languages used nowadays gets obsolete, they are still able to keep programming and keep learning easily new languages that could emerge in a future.
Java is a programming language that can be distinguished by its portability and its versatility, two characteristics that have helped this language to keep itself for years on top of the list of the most popular programming languages in the world. For this reason, at Codelearn we think that learning Java is essential. Also, the fact that it is so extended makes the companies to value more all the professionals who know this language.
Thanks to Java, one can develop websites, mobile applications, virtual reality, videogames… And that’s why it may seem that we see this name everywhere, because it is actually everywhere, including some of the most visited websites such as Facebook or Amazon. Java is used for creating applications and processes that work in almost every kind of devices and it allows to execute one same program in different operating systems. It is a very good option for the development of corporate applications and that’s the reason why it is used by a lot of companies of various sectors as finances, healthcare or industries.