First lesson: (re-)Intro to programming

Concepts covered in Lesson 1. These are particularly important for those who are new to computer programming, or who have forgotten what we learnt last year:

  • Instructions
  • Limited vocabulary (you cannot talk to the computer in plain English… yet)
  • Sequence (you have to get the order of instructions right)
  • Looping (same few lines of code over and over)
  • Stored procedures (naming a set of instructions for later reuse by you, or others)
  • Extending the language (creating a command, e.g. “square”, that didn’t exist before)

A computer program is a sequence of instructions written in a limited vocabulary that when executed carry out a specific task on a computer. Computer programs often do repetitive work, such as processing all items in a list, and so they contain features for re-using instructions so that those instructions don’t have to be written multiple times. Loops achieve this aim, as does the facility to store and name sets of instructions. Stored, named sets of instructions are variously known as procedures, subroutines, functions or methods, depending on the context. In allowing you to create and save your own procedures, programming languages make themselves extensible.

You can download FMSLogo and play with it. Check the help files if you are hungry to learn more.


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