[Edu-sig] BASIC?

Dethe Elza delza at livingcode.org
Fri Sep 15 23:17:26 CEST 2006

On 15-Sep-06, at 8:24 AM, Kevin Driscoll wrote:

> For the first case, I think it unreasonable to try to recreate the
> experience of programming BASIC on a C64 (like Brin) or an Apple //
> (like me.)  But what can we learn from it?  Can we abstract the
> curiosity, and challenge/reward systems of that earlier experience to
> help us create contemporary situations of similar value?

Python, Ruby, Perl and AppleScript come standard on every Mac (also  
AppleScript Studio and a full suite of professional programming  
tools, but those are an optional install).  Python comes standard on  
every Linux distro that I know of.  Windows no longer comes with a  
programming language, which is a marketing decision on Microsoft's  
behalf.  Brin appears to be extrapolating from Windows the the rest  
of the computing world (even though he specifically mentions the  
Mac).  Oddly enough, we're in the middle of a renaissance of the kind  
of build-it-yourself computing environments that he complains is  
missing, thanks to Make magazine.  Embedded programming environments  
like the Arduino board[1] have never been more accessible, you can  
write code directly over the web in languages like Frink[2], and more  
consumer devices are intended to be user-hackable, for example the  
Roomba[3], Lego Mindstorms[4], the soon-to-be-released Chumby[5], and  
the Nokia 770 tablet[6].

I have to agree with others on this list, there's an embarrassment of  
riches to choose from.  My biggest puzzle is which environments to  
teach my kids first.

[1] http://arduino.cc/en/
[2] http://futureboy.homeip.net/frinkdocs/FrinkApplet.html
[3] http://www.irobot.com/sp.cfm?pageid=248
[4] http://mindstorms.lego.com/Overview/NXTreme.aspx
[5] http://www.chumby.com/corporate/whatischumby
[6] http://opensource.nokia.com/projects/maemo/index.html


Simple things should be declarative.  Complex things should be  
procedural.  --Adam Bosworth

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