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    One interesting point from the article is how students relate to the concept of hard things, namely, they get excited by them. Meanwhile, adults collectively seem to shy away from anything labeled hard.

    Perhaps the takeaway (if there is one) is that we are our own worst enemies, especially our egos.

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      Disappointing to click the link and realize the “book” in the title isn’t Mindstorms. Ironically, going back to Scratch’s roots as described in Papert’s Mindstorms book would actually address a lot of the problems in how Scratch is often used in practice. A lot of the trouble isn’t inherent in Scratch the tool, but rather in the common practices that have evolved around it.

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        we have a problem and the solution is javascript

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          “The programming language itself isn’t even a proper language.”

          Language elitism seems to be the real problem here, and one the author doesn’t really tackle. Picking a language because you prefer it is different than picking a language because of the social status it will give you. Trying to argue that your language actually does give you social status when you previously thought it didn’t (“Scratch is actually really hard”) doesn’t help the situation.

          “This thing which I thought was uncool is actually cool” is different from “why should I care what is cool as long as it works for me?”

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            title incorrect, should be: everyone from age 12 has an ego problem.

            “I’m not really sure why it’s hard. But it just seems harder which is cool.”

            Why do you care how this thing looks? You’re threatened by the fact that (it looks like it’s for children) && (you can’t do it)? Where are these strange values coming from?

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              Probably simpler, easier, and faster to solve the technology problem than solve the problem of the ego in a capitalist society ;)

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                damn you rationalists.

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              I have heard that Linux has a similar problem in developing countries. They prefer Windows (illegally obtained for free), because Linux is perceived as the cheap inferior software.

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                My younger sister pirated Photoshop only to find it basically the same as GIMP she has been using for years. Dunno where she got the idea that Photoshop is better, probably school.

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                So I taught students Python, Java, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript — real programming languages that you type, not silly blocks

                I have a hard time taking an article seriously when the author describes HTML (on its own) as a programming language. It’s a markup language. It’s not Turing complete unless you manage to hack it with CSS.

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                  You’re not wrong, of course. As a formalism, “real programming language == “Turing complete” is a useful guidepost. But for the purposes of addressing the problem of how to teach kids about software, I doubt it matters much. I’m reminded of the old linguistics adage that “a language is just a dialect with an army”.

                  My kid is almost 5, and most of her computer experiences are on the iPad, which is good and bad.

                  I remember my first interactions with a computer - a floppy disk full of games in BASIC that my dad brought home from the office. It was perfect because I could play the games, and when I got bored & curious, I could look at the source code, and hack out little modifications to let me cheat. It was a great introduction.

                  So I’m a little sad that the games that she plays are total black boxes that don’t offer the same opportunity for peering behind the curtain, as it were. The article gave me a lot to think about as I try to introduce my daughter to “real” programming ideas, for various values of “real”.

                  Mainly I’m thinking about, what’s going to be most useful to her? What’s going to be fun? Where do those things intersect, and how should I present those ideas?

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                    I also have a 5yo. Scratch seems to be a good first step. It provides lots of examples​ which can be modified, just like that gorilla.bas on my dads PC. However, reading skills are necessary so it is too early at the moment.

                    I believe Jupyter notebooks with Python might be another step. It is quite interactive and images are easy. The wealth of the Python ecosystem should make it more useful for serious stuff. Maybe simulating Pokemon fights or whatever my kids are interested in by then.

                    Also, my students made some Android games to subtly teach lambda calculus.