/* ---- Google Analytics Code Below */

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Scratch Programming for 'All'

In CACM, the evolution of a programming language for all. I have looked at the Scratch site, but have not tried it for a real application. My argument to these kinds of ideas is always: "Do we want everyone to become a car designer or mechanic?". So why would we want that in programming?

In particular these methods are always oriented toward girls, as is this article. In fact the approach seems condescending in its approach to make sure the details of programming will be appealing to girls. Wouldn't it be better to aim this idea at higher levels of problem solving? There are many fine women car mechanics. Yet at my local shop the gender ratio is about 5:1, and I am sure that is also an outlier. So what?

Beyond that complaint, I still like the idea of easier-to-use languages, and new social ways to collaborate when programming, and this is a good case study:

"Digital fluency" should mean designing, creating, and remixing, not just browsing, chatting, and interacting.

When Moshe Y. Vardi, Editor-in-Chief of Communications, invited us to submit an article, he recalled how he first learned about Scratch: "A colleague of mine (CS faculty)," he said, "told me how she tried to get her 10-year-old daughter interested in programming, and the only thing that appealed to her was Scratch."

That's what we were hoping for when we set out to develop Scratch six years ago. We wanted to develop an approach to programming that would appeal to people who hadn't previously imagined themselves as programmers. We wanted to make it easy for everyone, of all ages, backgrounds, and interests, to program their own interactive stories, games, animations, and simulations, and share their creations with one another ... "

No comments: