"Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Lately, Coding"

Jim Hurley jhurley0305 at sbcglobal.net
Mon May 12 09:43:43 EDT 2014


There was an article in this Sunday's NYT that should be of interest to RunRev.

It describes how "coding" is taking its place beside "reading 'riting and 'ritmatic" in early education.
Here is the link to the article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/11/us/reading-writing-arithmetic-and-lately-coding.html?emc=edit_th_20140511&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=65530924&_r=0

There was a move in this direction some years back, around 1984, promoting coding in "LOGO," a product that originated out of the MIT Media Lab.

LOGO was a stepchild of LISP, (list processing), a language used primarily in AI, but adapted to moving sprites around the screen by MIT, and then implemented by Apple, IBM, among others.

The language was called "Turtle Graphics" from the Turtle Sprite that may be directed using such commands as FORWARD, BACK, RIGHT 45, LEFT 90, SETHEADING, TOWARD etc.  As many of you know, I have been advocating that it be implemented in LiveCode for some years. I have four flavors of TG implemented in LC, see: 
   
   http://jamesphurley.on-rev.com/Revolution.html

But it needs to become a formal part of LC.

From the NYT article:

"The lessons do not involve traditional computer language. Rather, they use simple word commands — like “move forward” or “turn right” — that children can click on and move around to, say, direct an Angry Bird to capture a pig."

"The use of these word-command blocks to simplify coding logic stems largely from the work of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, which introduced a visual programming language called Scratch in 2007. It claims a following of millions of users, but mostly outside the schools."

MIT has simplified LOGO to eliminate command-line coding to allow students to sequence blocks of code ("MOVE", "TURN RIGHT 90 DEGREES", etc) to accomplish some task. This block programming, using essentially TG, is called "Scratch." See:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scratch_(programming_language)

    http://scratch.mit.edu/

High school students would be more comfortable with a command line environment.

Implementing some version of a turtle-like programming language in LC would be helpful in getting into this burgeoning education market. Programable graphics is not only a seductive way to engage k-12 students, it is actually quite useful to students of science: plotting trajectory motion, planetary orbits, Voyager II, statics (bridges, catenaries, arches) optics, predator prey dynamics, etc.,  Text manipulation would follow.





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