August 27, 2015

"You can't think seriously about thinking without thinking about thinking about something."
--Seymour Papert, "Mindstorms" - Wonder if LOGO might end up a good bet for helping kids learn he possibility space of computers...
I was talking with Jeremy a bit about computers for kids, he recommended this book. I'd love to see a followup that takes the last 30+ years into account. Like, the BASIC he's most likely talking about is the one with line numbers (tho as he twittered "Say what you will about line-numbered BASIC, it's *incredibly* easy to teach from scratch, one concept at a time") and not the named subroutine stuff that came along in the Amiga era.

One thing LOGO brings to the table is a physicality that might be useful for some folks, just a subjective concrete sense of thing you can mentally ride along with. (Conversely, it's very plotter/line based. You can easily make a "draw circle" routine, but the noun then is a recipe, vs the circle itself as an object... so there's also no easy way of coloring something in, except for maybe a flood fill.)

"Scratch" gets a lot of attention, with the "building blocks" approach ala Lego Mindstorms, though it's been said kids might spent more time fooling around with other people's creations and funny sounds than building their own.

Going over old home computer mags for http://gazettegalore.blogspot.com/ reminds me what a special era it was... having BASIC be both the door to running more advanced programs as well as something you could make your own stuff in was great. LOGO (and stuff I code up in, like Processing) is always in a walled garden of sorts, while BASIC made you feel much closer to "the metal" so to speak.

Anna Anthropy wrote http://boingboing.net/2015/08/24/a-game-making-app-for-everyone.html ... recently, I'm reading it now. Some neighboring thoughtspace of this stuff I'm thinking about; though (roughly) her focus is more on friendlier tools as a means to the end of games and creating in general, and I see games as a means to the ends of picking up coding skills that I've found rewarding these years.
This place is definitely in the top three for view from places I've worked... probably the very top