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Monday, April 1, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: Computer Science For Kids Bible Games for Microsoft Small Basic

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The past few weeks, my son and I have been reviewing Computer Bible Games for Microsoft Small Basic  from Computer Science for Kids, and I want to share what we thought of it.

I believe that in today’s computer-savvy world, if you are familiar with computer programming languages, you are sure to have an edge in the job market after graduation from college. The earlier you begin learning something new and technical, the more natural it will flow for the student.

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 Beginning Microsoft Small Basic

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We received:
  • The Computer Bible Games for Small Basic 4th Edition Download
  • The E-Tutorial Download 
  • as well as the Beginning Microsoft Small Basic Programming Tutorial E-Tutorial Download 
  • and the Microsoft Small Basic v1.0 Application Download, which is a free download from Microsoft that is needed to run the other two downloads. 
My son loves computer programming languages and thrives on the tutorial format of learning, so he had already previously installed the Microsoft Small Basic v1.0 Application Download onto his computer. When he downloaded the Computer Bible Games for Small Basic 4th Edition with the E-Tutorials, he noticed that there was an explanation saying that it included the same information as found in the Beginning Microsoft Small Basic Programming Tutorial only it expanded the information to present Bible games, so he did not download the Beginning Microsoft Small Basic Programming Tutorial.

I received the download links and sent them directly to his computer for downloading. A minimum of Windows XP SP3 is needed to run the programs. He is operating a laptop that runs Windows 7.

The E-Tutorial learning programs contain activities such as creating a savings calculator, making a number guessing game, a state capitols game and a simple drawing program.  The Bible Games for Small Basic build on these concepts and walk the student through Bible Games like:
  1. Noah’s Ark
  2. Daniel and the Lions’ Den
  3. Elijah and the Ravens
  4. The Good Shepherd
  5. The Prodigal Son
  6. The Lost Coin
  7. Bible Scramble
I looked over the product information and then allowed my computer-savvy son to go to town downloading the information and following the tutorials. I checked in on him frequently to see what progress he had made and to see what he was working on and how the information was being presented.

These are screen shots of the programs and games he created:

The cost of the Bible program is currently on sale through July 4, 2013.  The option that we reviewed was the Single User License Digital E-Book Download Only, on sale now for $34.95, but you can find the program available in three different options:

  • $59.95 for paperback textbook plus E-Tutorial Digital Download with free shipping inside the US.
  • Single User License Digital E-Book Download Only - $34.95
  • Unlimited User Christian School Teacher Annual Site License Digital E-Book Download Only - $249.95

The Computer Science for Kids website states that the program is designed for Middle or High School level students. When I received the download information from Computer Science for Kids, it said that most students age 10 and above should be able to follow the tutorials. My son is 12 years old and is in the 7th grade. He found it extremely easy to use.

The program is intended to take 3 to 6 days for each lesson to fully understand it, taking a total of approximately 10 weeks to complete. However, the information states that those already familiar with computers may go at a faster pace. The latter was the case with my son. Since he had already been familiar with Small Basic, he completed the entire program and was creating the Bible games in less than two weeks.

My son found this program extremely easy to use.  Keep in mind that my son has an extensive background in computer programming and gaming even at the age of 12. He has never had formal training in any of the computer languages, but he has explored several on his own and devours any computer programming tutorial books that he can get his hands on. He has been known to beg me for a huge JAVA book we found at a thrift store, and he is often difficult to pull away from the computer programming books at the library. However, the material in the Computer Science for Kids program was presented in a way that even a middle school or high school student who has never seen a computer before would be able to pick up and follow the self-paced tutorial guides with ease.

There are more challenging exercises included that are intended for 7th through 12 graders, and he kept begging me to complete those as well. Of course I said yes. How often do I hear my son beg to do school work?

I think the Computer Science for Kids tutorials are a great introduction to computer programming for middle school students.

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