Monday, April 1, 2013

TOS Review - Computer Science For Kids

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Have you ever wondered how your computer works? Have you ever thought about how a computer answers questions, how you can play that action packed game, or even calculate numbers with a calculator? Well this product, Beginning Microsoft Small Basic, from Computer Science For Kids can answer some of these questions. The authors of this program, Phillip Conrod and Lou Tylee, have both worked with computers and programming for over 30 years. Computer Science For Kids offers many different types of programs/tutorials, but for this post I was asked to review Beginning Microsoft Small Basic.

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Age: This product is recommended for 10 years old and up.

Price: $59.95 includes paperback textbook plus e-book download.
         $34.95 includes instant download e-book edition with one single
          user license.

Links: Table of Contents

         Sample Chapter

Requirements:  Knowledge of using Windows, ability to view and print documents, XP-SP2, Vista, or Windows 7.

Beginning Microsoft Small Basic includes 11 chapters explaining how to use and build programs with Small Basic. This program is self-paced and uses easy to understand language to guide the user through an interactive environment to learn different examples of Small Basic programming. Some programs that are taught: savings calculator, a number guessing game, a card game, a state capitals game, tic-tac-toe, simple drawing program, logic games, and a basic video game. Beginning Basic comes to you as over 500 pages of notes and Small Basic examples. It is recommended that the user of Small Basic be comfortable with using Windows, basically knowing how to find files on your computer, move and re-size windows, and work with ZIP files, but no real programming experience is needed to make use of this product. It is recommended to have the ability to print documents through a program like Microsoft Word. The most obvious program that the user will need is Small Basic which can be downloaded for free and Beginning Microsoft Small Basic will guide you through that process. The authors recommend studying one class a week devoting 3-6 hours per class. This would have the program finished in 10 weeks. Computer Science for Kids offers technical support for one year from the original purchase date.

How We Used the Product and What We Thought

The first thing I did after receiving the digital download was to print the plethora of pages included with this program. As stated before over 500 pages.

I put all the pages in a binder with dividers for each lesson for more easy access. In the allowed time frame for the review we were able to work our way through lessons 1-4 and nine pages in to lesson 5. We used this program together three times a week and were easily able to get the recommended amount of work finished. The first lesson informed us about early computers and programming that we found very interesting. It is fascinating how far computers have come since the early days. We found it exciting to write and run the code for each lesson and see what happend. Grace found out quite quickly if one character, etc. is out of place the code in the program will not run correctly. This will teach the student a lot about slowly and diligently working to get the code correct. So far we have found working in the Small Basic environment easy and that ease relates right back to the straight forward and uncomplicated methods that are taught in Beginning Microsoft Small Basic. Each concept is thoroughly explained and examples are given throughout the material. From the download of the material to working with the material we have had no problems, glitches, etc. So far I would have to say our favorite lesson has been 5, Debugging, Decisions, Random Numbers. This chapter has taught us what causes Syntax, Run-Time, and Logic Errors. Off and on I will get Run-Time Errors on my computer. Now we know the basics of why that might happen. I think Beginning Microsoft Small Basic is a great product that students can learn much from and the economical price helps too. 

Be sure to visit Computer Science For Kids to check out all their products, but especially take a look at Beginning Microsoft Small Basic

Also take a look and read to see what the other TOS Reviewers think about this product.

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LisaMarieF said...

Yikes - I didn't realize it had so many pages! It's a really hefty manual! :) Sounds like you guys are enjoying it. We are too!

Leah Courtney said...

My son has LOVED this program!

Unknown said...

This is definitely something we'll look into when our kids are older!