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Taking Kids into Programming (Contests) with Scratch

Abdulrahman IDLBI

Syrian Olympiad in Informatics, Syrian Computer Society E-mail: adlogi@gmail.com


Since launching the Syrian Olympiad in Informatics (SOI) five years ago, encouraging children to participate in the contest has been a challenging task, a common problem in many places around the world. Students, and many educators as well, see programming as a tough subject to learn. In addition, the style of IOI tasks is generally considered unattractive.

We started overcoming those obstacles through using Scratch, a graphical programming language developed at the MIT Media Lab. Scratch allows kids to start learning programming concentrating on the concepts rather than the syntax, while providing them with the ability to construct diverse projects that are attractive and meaningful to them. Scratch also allows examining children's programming skills against interesting tasks, and gives them the opportunity to move more smoothly into learning a traditional language like C++ and other computer science topics.


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