I am a strong believer that kids can learn to program very early in their lives. I have been a big fan of the late Dr.Randy Pauch and his legacy of Alice. My daughter and I have played with Alice a bit and I am planning to set some time with her every week to do Alice, she has all these screen plays that she creates in her note book and she is very motivated to be in the performing arts. Here is an idea, she could use Alice to make her stories there by learn computer programming. This is exactly what Laufey Dís Ragnarsdóttir and Rakel Sölvadóttir—computer scientists and psychologists at the Reykjavík University have started doing. Here is an article about them in Reykjavik Grapevine. They have a startup which actually won the award for being the “Seed of the year for 2011” here in Iceland, the name of the company is Skema but as always the website is in Icelandic and I have to rely on Google Translate to tell me what they are really trying to do. The just started offering programs for kids a couple of days back. I am going to try to meet with them. There has been no innovation in education per se and I believe these kinds of tools and startups can really change the way we learn.
What is fascinating about teaching kid computer programming is that I believe it could help kids with Attention Deficit Disorder and Dyslexia, I am not a medical doctor but I would guess it actually help kids learn better with computer programming because the feedback loop of what you do is immediate and they actually start paying more attention to the task at hand.
Here is Rakel talking about the concept in TEDxReykjavik.http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxReykjavik-Rakel-Solvadottir/player?layout=&read_more=1