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Software Facts for Kids

Computer software (often called just software) is a set of instructions and associated documentation that tells a computer what to do or how to perform a task or it can mean all the software on a computer, including the applications and the operating system. Applications are programs that do a specific thing, such as a game or a word processor. The operating system (Mac OS, Microsoft Windows, Linux, etc.) is software that helps the applications run, and controls the display and the keyboard.

The word software was first used in the late 1960s to show the difference from computer hardware, which are the parts of a machine that can be seen and touched. Software is the instructions that the computer follows. Before compact discs (CDs) or Internet downloads, software came on various computer data storage media like paper punch cards, magnetic discs or magnetic tape.

If you compare computers

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7 Programming Languages to Teach Kids How to Code

Scratch screen capture (Marziah Karch)
Screen Capture

What We Like

  • Block-style storytelling teaches the fundamentals of coding in a fun way.

  • Developed by MIT, an authority on teaching and coding.

  • Free.

Scratch is a free kids programming language developed by MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten Lab. The free language is supplemented by getting-started tutorials, curriculum instructions for parents, and a robust user community. There are even cards kids can use to learn Scratch programming concepts when they are away from the computer. 

Scratch uses a building-block visual interface to create a scaffolded experience for kids and parents. You stack together programming components, such as actions, events, and operators.

Each block has a shape that only allows it to be combined with a compatible object. Repeat loops, for example, are shaped like a sideways “U” to let you know that you need to put blocks in between the start and stop of a loop. 

Scratch makes real animations

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