LiveCode for the Hobbyists

Earthednet-wp prothero at earthednet.org
Sat Feb 27 12:05:25 EST 2016


Tore,
Your idea has a lot of merit. In the early Apple days, HyperCard was very popular with educators. It was simple and revolutionary as a programming environment, and free with the computer. Livecode has the capability for this now, especially with the widgets and even more with Monte's wonderful additions.

I too see warning signs in the regular modifications of the payment options by the mothership. We are all truly screwed if they would go under.

The landscape in education is quite different now, of course. I am a retired educator and used Director to deliver assignments where students could access real Earth data, write papers, review their peers' papers, see their grades, etc. I am currently rewriting much of that material in Livecode. My interest is in general education and critical thinking, rather than teaching programming. But the mothership could get a lot of publicity by creating a repository of educational apps built in livecode, indexed by subject, grade level, and (for the US) the common core standards. The ability to deliver these apps over a range of devices, including mobile and Raspberry Pi would be a huge incentive.

I can see a use for a "framework" for delivering educational apps. For example, is it really necessary to write a new login/password/password recovery code by each teacher who wants to create an assignment as part of a course? I have just finished a beta version of such a framework and it took me a substantial amount of time. Another looming issue for me is integration with Learning Management systems, like Moodle, which is widely used and open source. There is SCORM, LTI, and now "Common Cartridge". When I read the docs on these systems, my eyeballs roll back in my head and I know I will be taking on a huge trek into IT-land. Sample stacks that implemented these interfaces would be invaluable to higher Ed teachers, and me in particular.

What would be extremely useful to me (which is what I'm creating) would be a configurable login system that can respond to "anybody", "a student in a class", or a "teacher who registers a class that students can sign up for". Details like forgotten passwords and/or class registration codes need to be dealt with. A feature I haven't come to grips with is auto-updating of software, and I will need to query Richard G to sort this out. All of these features have been vital when I was teaching an oceanography class to 300 students.

If there was an effort like this, I think it must be led by, or at least strongly managed, by those with actual experience in education, who will test their materials in actual learning situations. The entire effort could be a big undertaking.

Some ideas, off the top of my head: LC could offer some services to a volunteer team who would visualize and develop this with a goal of it eventually being incorporated into the mothership's product offering. One of my concerns is what will happen to my own work in the future. Life can be too short. Contributing to a larger effort would be satisfying. I would see it as having some of the ideas or features of the Khan Academy. There could be lessons on specific topics (programming in LC, or physics, for example) that teachers could create, or download, or apps that stand alone. Educator/developers could access various frameworks to help them get started. Perhaps there could be some way of rewarding developers of apps that are used widely. The mothership would provide a server resource to host the effort and a reasonable sized group of developer/educators could be formed to formulate and visualize the project.

That's it for now. Others may chime in. Perhaps there is some part of this vision that is shared by others. 

Best,
Bill

William Prothero
http://es.earthednet.org

> On Feb 27, 2016, at 3:38 AM, Tore Nilsen <tore.nilsen at me.com> wrote:
> 
> 
>>> 27. feb. 2016 kl. 03.35 skrev ambassador at fourthworld.com:
>>> 
>>> 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.
> 
> Regards
> Tore Nilsen
> 
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