You don't often see a chief executive stand on a chair to give a presentation, but that's how "10-year-old CEO" Mark Brannigan demonstrated his 20 Questions game to the panel of judges at The London Real-Time Hackathon in April (see video below). Mark has now followed up with a glossy Coding For Kids Workbook 1: the 20 questions game, from P&M Brannigan Publishers.
The 28-page workbook takes kids through the design and programming of the simple think-of-an-animal game in PHP and HTML, with almost half of it taken up by a code listing.
It's not all that different from the kind of thing you might have seen 30 years ago, except the 20 Questions code would have been written in Basic.
Mark has, of course, had help from his CTO. His father Paul -- the P in P&M -- is a former secondary school ICT teacher.
The publication is well timed, with coding for kids being a newsworthy topic at the moment. Mark has done several speeches, including one at the Digital Shoreditch Festival's Inspire Day (video), and he's developing another workbook based on the Ace Card Game.
Separately, the volunteer-run Code Club has been founded to help British children aged 10-11 to write code as an after-school activity. Code Club aims to offer "12 weeks of lesson plans based on the Scratch curriculum (that sits alongside the UK national curriculum)".
MIT's Scratch provides a graphical user interface with drag-and-drop programming, and it's the language I always recommend to parents.
Code Club recently released a hilarious "viral video" (below) where three children interviewed and dismissed a series of technology industry luminaries such as YouTube founder Chad Hurley, Skype's Niklas Zennstrom, Lastminute.com co-founders Brent Hoberman and Martha Lane Fox, and Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, plus a member of the royal family.
Under normal circumstances, it would have been impossible to assemble such a star-studded cast for a two-minute film, but it was a great bit of opportunism: the luminaries were attending the Founders Forum in London, which started with an evening in Downing Street.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J2UXCf72qs Mark Brannigan at the London Real-Time Hackathon
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxhGIajRsq4 Code Club - The Interview