The Missing Link between LiveCode and Teachers

Kay C Lan lan.kc.macmail at
Fri Apr 18 12:01:56 CEST 2014

On Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 10:33 PM, Richard Gaskin <ambassador at
> wrote:

> The Raspberry Pi is helping young people all over the world understand
> that computing isn't some rarefied special thing other people make and we
> merely use, but instead computing is cheap, ubiquitous, and something we
> all can make.  The 21st century isn't about users, it belongs to makers.
> I reckon Thomas Edison and the people at Bell Labs would argue that the
19th and 20th centuries belonged to the the makers. Leonardo might contend
that it even started before then and the guy who first set fire to things
when he walked out of his cave would probably suggest that it has always
been the case. It won't be paradise when man is finally too apathetic to
invent stuff to solve the problem's he's created ;-( Thankfully, if it
comes to that, women will come to the rescue ;-)

When I went to school we had to do one term of woodwork and one term of
metalwork. Everyone built a wooden pencil case with their name burnt into
it with a soldering iron (I can almost smell the burnt pine) and either a
nail punch or a tack hammer. My children all did almost exactly the same,
certainly one son ended up with a near identical wooden pencil case
although the other made his from metal. One child made a metal BBQ burger
flip, another a set of metal napkin rings.

I, along with many many other students used our wooden pencil cases.

I've always felt the tipping point for 'modern technology' is to identify
something that is truly useful for the students to make.

For software classes it seems all they do is learn how to use Word and
Excel, there doesn't seem to be any software creation. IMO some kind of
Homework/Assignments stack would probably fit the bill. A simple db stored
on the schools server. Teachers have a stack that updates the db with their
class homework and assignments. Students, get to make their stack that
queries the db and gets their homework. The basics of query the db, filling
a field with the output and some kind of Alert/Reminder function would be
very easy. The beauty though would be when the student's realise that they
can customise their stack; so instead of a simple dialog box that pops to
tell you Page 432 of Advanced Math is due 30Apr and an OK button; you could
replace that with 7 buttons, one for each day of the week, so you could
specify exactly when you want to be reminded again. Guarantee some class
clown will figure out that they can simply replace the 'OK" button with
"Procrastinate until the night before'. Software, particularly HC Stacks
use to be full of such humours dialog boxes - not so much today although
error messages from Google seem to be an attempt at more human like
responses. I think that's what students need to see, that they can humanise
their software, they can reflect their personality.

On the hardware side I'm a little partial towards Arduino myself, only
because these boards are for prototyping so once you figure out all the
components you don't need (like a USB port and 32 I/Os) you can make a much
smaller board - wearable broach for girls, key fob size for boys. The
Raspberry I see as more for those who get the bug and want something a
little more advanced. Unfortunately I haven't figured out what kind of
electronic knickknack every student could use; the hardware equivalent of a
pencil box. But once someone clever figures it out then every student
should at some stage posses a wooden pencil case, a metal BBQ burger
flipper, their own Homework software and <a key bob that makes fart sounds>.

<insert something far more useful>

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