Brand : Philip Conrod

Beginning Microsoft Small Basic - A Computer Programming Tutorial - Color Illustrated 1.0 Edition



Paynea54 |

For teachers, parents, the classroom and the home!

What is "beginning small basic * " and how it works. *plus a porting guide to microsoft visual basic, c# and java these lessons are a highly organized and well-indexed set of lessons in the microsoft small basic programming environment. small basic is a simplified version of the many basic (basic all-purpose symbolic instruction code) programming languages of the past. small basic has only 14 keywords (premised upon preexisting classes) - each providing their own set of commands (methods) and variants (overloads). the small basic language is simple enough to allow programs to be written with keyboard driven input and text-only output, but powerful enough to create eye-catching graphical user interface (gui) applications where input may come from a keyboard, a mouse, or even a touch-screen. the small basic programming environment is very user-friendly - providing a context-sensitive command reference, so that the user learns the commands while typing. each command has help on the side-bar providing an explanation of the syntax and the options available in order to complete the command. while the small basic environment is ideal for the youngest programmer, these tutorials are written to provide the best foundation to learn programming concepts in computer science - regardless of the language. the tutorials provide the benefit of completed real-world applications - fully documented projects from the teacher's point of view. that is, while full solutions are provided for the teacher's (and learner's) benefit, projects are presented in an easy-to-follow set of lessons explaining concepts fundamental to all languages - data types, input and output, decision making, looping, built-in functions, the different types of errors (syntax versus logical), logical expressions, comparison operators, random numbers, arrays, and finally, and finally the gui features of the language. an experienced teacher would recognize all of the above as a substantive list of topics in any first computer science course - whether for elementary, middle or secondary school students. the learner may follow the tutorials at their own pace while focusing upon context relevant information. every bit of the lesson is remembered as it contributes to the final solution to a real-life application. the finished product is the reward, but the student is fully engaged and enriched by the process. this kind of learning is often the focus of teacher training. every computer science teacher knows what a great deal of work is required for projects to work in this manner, and with these tutorials, the work is done by an author who understands the classroom experience. that is extremely rare! graduated lessons for every project ... lessons, examples, problems and projects. graduated learning. increasing and appropriate difficulty... great results. with these projects, there are lessons providing a comprehensive background on the programming topics to be covered. once understood, concepts are easily applicable to a variety of applications. then, specific examples are drawn out so that a learner can practice with the small basic commands. finally, a summative program for the chapter is presented. problems are broken down into manageable parts - the logical solution to the problem, the design of the user-interface and supporting sub-routines (code modules) come together in the finished product. by presenting lessons in this graduated manner, students are fully engaged and appropriately challenged to become independent thinkers who can come up with their own project ideas, design their own text-only or graphical user interfaces, and do their own coding. once the process is learned, then student engagement is unlimited! i have seen student literacy improve dramatically as they cannot get enough of what is being presented. indeed, lessons encourage accelerated learning - in the sense that they provide an enriched environment to learn computer science, but they also encourage accelerating learning because students cannot put the lessons away once they start! computer science provides this unique opportunity to challenge students, and it is a great testament to the authors that they are successful in achieving such levels of engagement with consistency. my history with the kidware software products. i have used single license or shareware versions for over a decade to keep up my own learning. by using these lessons, i am able to spend time on things which will pay off in the classroom. i do not waste valuable time ensconced in language reference libraries for programming environments and help screens which can never be fully remembered! these projects are examples of how student projects should be as final products - thus, the pathway to learning is clear and immediate in every project. by following these lessons, i was able to come up with my own projects - an equation solver which allows a student to solve any equation that they are likely to encounter in high school, a dice game of craps, a financial calculator covering all grade 12 financial math applications, and finally, the game of mastermind - where i presently have a "mastermind hall of fame" for the best solutions by students over the years. i have made several applications for hardware interfacing in computer technology class. i could do all of this only because of these lessons by kidware software! the exciting thing is that all of the above could also be done in other basic or visual studio languages - such as qbasic, small basic, visual c# or visual c++, though i first learned to do the programming using kidware software's "learn visual basic". for me to go from one language to another is now an inevitable outcome! with these lessons, i am able to concentrate on the higher order thinking skills presented by the problem, and not be chained to a language reference in order to get things done! in the beginning small basic tutorials, the authors have provided a final chapter where 3 popular programs are presented in small basic, visual basic, visual c#, java and qbasic - just to emphasize how concepts and ideas are transferable from one language to another. if i want to use or expand upon some of the projects for student use, then i take advantage of site-license options. i have found it very straight forward to emphasize the fundamental computer science topics that form the basis of these projects when using them in the classroom. quick learning curve for teachers! how teachers can use the product: having projects completed ahead of time can allow the teacher to present the design aspect of the project first, and then have students do all of their learning in the context of what is required in the finished product. this is a much faster learning curve than if students designed all of their own projects from scratch. lessons concentrating on a unified outcome for all make for much more streamlined engagement for first-time students of computer programming, as they complete more projects within a short period of time and there is a context for everything that is learned. meet different state and provincial curriculum expectations and more different states and provinces have their own curriculum requirements for computer science. with the kidware software products, you have at your disposal a series of projects which will allow you to pick and choose from among those which best suit your curriculum needs. students focus upon design stages and sound problem-solving techniques from a computer-science perspective. in doing so, they become independent problem-solvers, and will exceed the curricular requirements of elementary, middle and secondary schools everywhere. useable projects - out of the box ! the specific projects covered in the beginning microsoft small basic tutorials are suitable for grade 6 and above: sub sandwich party savings calculator guess the number game lemonade stand card wars blackboard fun balloons computer stopwatch loan calculator units conversion times tables state capitals dice rolling memory game tic-tac-toe decoder/encoder and classic games such as even wins mugwump and lunar lander as you can see, there is a high degree of care taken so that projects are age-appropriate. you can begin teaching the projects on the first day. it's easy for the teacher to have done their own learning by starting with the solution files. then, they will see how all of the parts of the lesson fall into place. even a novice teacher could make use of the accompanying lessons. the lessons will provide more than just the coding of the solution - they will provide the correct context for the coding decisions which were made, and provide help in the investigation of related functions. students then experiment with projects of their own making. how to teach students to use the materials. teachers can introduce the style of presentation (lesson, examples, end-of-chapter problems) to the students in such a way that they quickly grasp how to use the lessons on their own. the lessons are provided so that students may trust the order of presentation in order to have sufficient background information for every project. but the lessons are also highly indexed, so that students may pick and choose projects if limited by time. how to mark the projects. in a classroom environment, it is possible for teachers to mark student progress by asking questions during the various design and coding stages. teachers can make their own written quizzes easily from the reference material provided, but i have found the requirement of completing projects (mastery) sufficient for gathering information about student progress - especially in the later grades. lessons encourage your own programming extensions. once concepts are learned, it is difficult to not know what to do for your own projects. once having done my own projects in one language, such as small basic, i know that i could easily adapt them to other languages once i have studied the kidware software tutorials. i do not believe there is any other reference material out there which would cause me to make the same claim! in fact, i know there is not as i have spent over a decade looking! having used kidware software tutorials for the past decade, i have to say that i could not have achieved the level of success which is now applied in the variety of many programming environments which are currently of considerable interest to kids! i thank kidware software and its authors for continuing to stand for what is right in the teaching methodologies which work with kids - even today's kids where competition for their attention is now so much an issue. regards, alan payne, b.a.h. , b.ed. computer science teacher t.a. blakelock high school oakville, ontario [...]

Melissa j. newman |

Small basic 1.2 is the current version. other versions don't work with windows 7.

Edit: microsoft small basic v. 1.2 works with windows 7, 8, and 10. make sure you have the correct version. i used microsoft small basic in 2010 to teach my oldest how to program. i loved that it had the turtle graphics module in it, because it really caught my son's attention and helped to get him interested in programming. i also love that small basic is a simple easy language with no fluff. a student will quickly outgrow small basic, but the language was designed for learning how to program and is fantastic for that purpose. it is not intended to be an industry language. i had a bit of trouble with the installation of small basic on my windows 7 computer when i tried to recently install it. i spoke with the author, who was very helpful, and he told me that he verified that everything works with windows 8.1. as for the writing of the textbook, all of his textbooks are the same for each language, but just specific for each language. since i was having some installation problems with microsoft small basic on my windows 7 computer, i ended up just going with the "java for kids" book. that book is so well written that my worries about the "extra stuff" that java needs to get even a simple program running were unfounded. i using the java series to teach my almost 10 year old and almost 12 year old programming for the first time. i plan to go through the whole java series by this author. java is the language used in minecraft, android applications, and the ap computer science test, so i did not need the turtle module to get my younger kids interested in learning java. the only negative thing i would say about the small basic book is that if i was writing this book, i would have taught the turtle module first, then taught that textwindow module, and finally the graphicswindow module. this book only teaches the textwindow first and then the graphicswindow. it does not teach the turtle graphics window which kind of surprised me, because that was one of the reasons why small basic was originally created. if you are wondering if you should use small basic or a drag and drop programming language like scratch or alice for teaching young children to program, i would recommend small basic. i personally don't think that drag and drop programming help kids learn programming. small basic is a typed programming language with a very limited keyword set (14 keywords) that can use any .net class, but cannot create any classes. there are no extras in the language to confuse a first time programmer. if you are an adult wondering if you should buy this textbook for yourself to learn programming, it will depend on if you already know another programming language. most adult programming books assume that the author is moving from one programming language to another programming language. everything that is covered in this book is usually covered in 1 chapter in a regular adult programming book, because those books assume that you already know the basics of programming languages and you want to know the specifics of the language that you are learning. this book assumes that the reader is starting from ground zero. the book is slow and meticulous, and it is the perfect format for anyone who is trying to understand programming for the very first time. all of the "kids" and "beginning" programming books by this author have this philosophy. if you already know a programming language, you can just skip to the next book in the series of the language that you are working with and just use a cheat sheet for the syntax. this author has a series for small basic, visual basic, c#, and java. although, i can't see anybody who already knows another language switching to small basic since small basic is intended to be a first language.

Donald m. shepherd |

Put the "fun" back in programming

Dartmouth college professors john kemeny and thomas kurtz invented the basic programming language in 1964 so that non-engineering students could get some valuable experience with these new things called computers. that version of basic was wildly successful, spawning uncountable successors. programming in that first basic was really fun, and it was amazing what could be done with those 15 statements and 10 functions. as computers and their programming languages became more complex, a lot of the fun in programming went away. so microsoft decided to invent (and make freely available, not insignificantly for them) a simple new version of basic, small basic, to put the fun back into programming and possibly attract a new generation of programmers. this e-book is an excellent guide to getting started with this language. this e-book contains plenty of excellent illustrations and example snippets of code for the student to enter and try out. the first couple of chapters provide an excellent introduction for a student who knows the essentials of windows and the pc but has no prior programming experience. new concepts are introduced in a logical way. first, the standard text window is discussed, then simple looping and subroutines are covered, and this leads to the graphics window and how events, like clicking the mouse or pressing a key, are handled. techniques of animation are covered, because most kids are in love with games. by reading the text and following the coding examples, students will be able to create their own simple games. what better way for kids to learn programming than to use it to create something they love! one chapter contains the code for 9 interactive programs to show how all of these programming structures and features can be combined to create really interesting programs, and the final chapter takes three sample programs (even wins, mugwumps, and lunar lander) and shows the code for these programs in five popular programming languages: small basic, visual basic, visual c#, java, and a generic basic. the e-book covers it all, from a great introduction to what programming is all about to the specific syntax and structure of a small basic program. this is good because, currently, proper documentation for small basic is somewhat lacking; it does exist, but microsoft doesn't make it very easy to find. the advice and suggestions given in the e-book are spot on. i think this e-book is valuable in two ways. for a self-motivated student who wants to learn a nice beginning programming language, the book provides an excellent tutorial. everything the student will need to create and run text window or graphics window programs is here. secondly, this e-book can be used as a complete curriculum for teaching students about introductory programming. i used it to teach programming to middle-school students (ages 11-14), and it is excellent in that regard. microsoft does make freely available a "curriculum" consisting of a series of powerpoint slides, but i don't believe that using these slides would be as effective as using this e-book. all teachers know that kids learn best when they are having fun. this e-book helps put the fun in this new language from microsoft, and it is an excellent and valuable resource.