Kickstarter?Mike Lake wrote:Just a dumb question from someone who has been in this computer lark for over 40 years and who has seen the wheel of education go round several times.
Does everything have to be free?
When someone from the world of Windows (yes, I am a founder member of the "I hate Microsoft" club – over the years it has cost me millions to program round Microsoft's "unpublished features" i.e. bugs) takes one look at Linux they run a mile. They are not old enough to remember the days of command line prompts and "switch it off and on again, it will sort itself out." One of the first things I did with micros was to fit a reset switch to a Commodore PET!
By the time they have connected their wireless mouse to their RPI and found that it kills their USB connection (or the other way round) or they have plugged something in that says "Linux" on the box and it doesn’t work (like a WiFi dongle – which is a word I co-invented by the way), they will get depressed. "Don't worry," we say, "just go to the command prompt and type in this string of (meaningless to them) characters and it will download the latest driver – maybe."
Let"s face it, unless it is a product with top quality support (like a major University as is the case with Scratch) then the "free" world can be a bit of a mess and a bit scary. Some is brilliant, much "leaves a little to be desired" – especially in the area of documentation.
I would LOVE to commission a middleware programming system for schools that would move on from Scratch and end up with full blown Python at the end of it. I think Greenfoot is too scary at this level – but, like all languages, it doesn't look scary to those who use it.
I have spoken to teachers (I was one earlier in my career!) and I think I know what we need to move on from Scratch with stuff forming a coherent whole but pitched at different levels for different abilities and different age groups.
Trouble is, it would costs a serious amount of money to develop – which I would be happy to invest. I have superb staff and they all expect to get paid. I would be unhappy with them using their talents out of working hours for free – after all, there is only so much a human brain can do in one day and I am paying them to use that brain power for commercial stuff (at the moment.)
Software costs money – unless it is being done by those funded by us as taxpayers in Universities or on benefits.
If it costs money one wants to recover that investment – seems reasonable to me – but then I have been in business for over 30 years.
So, does it have to be free? Would a "reasonable price" (to be defined) be OK – or is it out of the question? (Assuming it was a really good product.)
So many good educational languages are free that a paid for one would struggle to be widely adopted.So, does it have to be free?
It is very nice for a thread started in 2012 to continue accumulating knowledge that answers the question "what to do after Scratch?" One of the faculty at my university claims that the transition between Scratch and any other programming language is more difficult than learning a proper language in the first place. Therefore, it is better to avoid Scratch from the beginning.bensimmo wrote:GameMaker if it's games they like. Takes Scratch game making to the next level, my son moved over pretty quickly.
You make a very interesting point.The way I see it, this is essentially the same reason parents are encouraged to speak proper English to their babies rather than speaking only in baby talk. Most parents endulge in a little baby talk; however, almost none would insist the baby becomes proficient at baby talk before attempting standard English.