LiveCode for the Hobbyists

Tore Nilsen tore.nilsen at
Sat Feb 27 06:38:58 EST 2016

> 27. feb. 2016 kl. 03.35 skrev ambassador at
>> Another good way to get a user base is to be available in schools.
>> This is hard work, as network administrators, school boards, and
>> politicians are often against all change. RunRev put a little
>> effort into this a long time ago and I don't think they currently
>> do anything in this regard.
> Agreed, it is hard.
> What specifically do you think LiveCode Ltd should be doing for greater EDU outreach?
> And what do you think the community of educators using LC might be able to do to also further those goals?

Apologies for the length of this, but the questions raised by Richard are something I have been thinking about for quite some time.

As a teacher I use LiveCode for two different purposes: 

a) As a tool to make educational software “on the fly”. I find LiveCode to be an invaluable resource, if and when I encounter a situation where I can see that my students will benefit from using digital learning material. I can easily make an application that will either help my students in the process of understanding a particular topic, practice skills or solve problems. Since I am making my own pedagogical software, I can be quite certain that it will fulfil the needs of my students, and myself, at any given time. This is in my opinion a great time saver, as I do not have to spend time looking for a solution for my particular problem(s), only to discover, half way through the process, that the chosen application does not have the content or the methods I am looking for.

I think a lot of teachers would benefit from being able to make their own software. This is one area where I think LiveCode as a company should focus their effort and where educators using LiveCode can contribute. Most teachers would be happy to use the community edition of LiveCode, so in order to make some money out of this, LiveCode should put together a course package, that could be sold at a reasonable price, either to individual teachers, to single schools or to groups of schools.

Educators using LiveCode could help put together such a course. The content of the course should be delivered as media rich content with video lessons, text material and sample stacks to show a variety of possible solutions. Educators familiar with LiveCode could also be listed as “certified” instructors. If this is done right, LiveCode should then be able to offer this course both with or without instructors.Schools and teachers will have the opportunity to decide whether to do this on a personal basis or as a part of the schools effort to enhance the skills of its teachers.   

b) I also use LiveCode as the preferred tool to teach programming to our last year students in an upper secondary school in Norway. It is not necessary for the students to have any prior knowledge or experience in programming or coding, and only a handful of them do have such knowledge. I have found LiveCode to be a very good tool in this course. The main reason being that my students can concentrate on learning and understanding the principles behind programming, as they already do understand most of the basic syntax. I have found that LiveCode easily adapts to our national curriculum, and in some parts actually makes it easier for my students to perform at the highest level of competence, as it is described in the competence aims in the curriculum.

In my opinion LiveCode should try to put together a package of resources that can help teachers to use LiveCode in accordance with the competence aims of their respective curriculums. The resources should ideally be localised and presented in native language wherever possible. The content of these resources should be linked to the different competence aims of the curriculums, with a clear explanation of how different techniques demonstrates important principles in programming.

This is also on area where educators can help out, choosing the appropriate resources based on their personal knowledge off their curriculums and experiences as teachers. It should be possible to come up with suggested year plans to help teachers to use LiveCode as their preferred tool for teaching programming. Such plans could serve as an interactive “menu” by which the students could access the different resources. These resources could be webpages, videos, downloadable stacks, presentations and text files. 

LiveCode could sell these packages together with an Indy licence at reduced price for teachers, a hosting solution for schools and offer a community for both students and teachers alike, thereby making it possible for a wider network of students and teachers to collaborate. As with the course for helping teachers to make their own software, educators familiar with LiveCode could become “certified” instructors, and LiveCode could offer introduction courses in using LiveCode as a tool for teaching programming.

Another area into which LiveCode could venture, is the ever-growing area of code-club initiatives. Many of the aforementioned resources could be targeted at this segment, and both teachers and other users of LiveCode could use these resources to offer LiveCode as a tool for children and youth who would like to learn how to program, out of school.

I do appreciate the fact that these suggestions will demand personell, time and financial support from LiveCode, and that the company may not have the sufficient amount of resources to back such initiatives. I still think it is important that the company invests time and resources to reach out to the educational sector, and that it does so in a manner that will make them a viable player in this market. They need to be visible in the most important arena where the future customers and users are. 

In the last five years, I have been attending the BETT-show in London, on the behalf of my school on several occasions. For those unfamiliar with the BETT-show, it is the largest expo of tech in education in Europe, and it attracts thousands of teachers, school management, network administrators and others with a connection to education, from all over Europe. Even though I often find most of what happens there to be of lesser interest, I can’t help but thinking that LiveCode should consider participating. I don’t know the cost of participating, and my guess is it would not be cheap to have a decent sized stand. In my opinion the most successful stands are those who not only put a product on display. In order to make an impact, it should be possible to have fringe seminars within the stand, where the audience could see demonstrations of the capabilities of LiveCode. Such demonstrations could also be in area where educators could help out.

I hope that someone would make an initiative to bring together educators who use LiveCode on different levels, to discuss how we can contribute to bring LiveCode into schools, as a part of the conference in Edinburgh. I am attending the conference, and I would very much like to take part in both a discussion about the future of LiveCode in education, and any initiative that may come from it.

Tore Nilsen

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