[Edu-sig] a non-rhetorical question

Dethe Elza delza at livingcode.org
Sun Jul 8 07:14:24 CEST 2007

On 7-Jul-07, at 9:04 PM, Andy Judkis wrote:

> I'm seriously thinking about using Scratch rather than Python, for  
> just that
> reason -- the cool factor is built-in, it's as accessible as "if" or
> "while".

I haven't been actively trying to teach my kids to program, but they  
know that's a big part of what I do (both for work and for fun), and  
they like computers a lot.  I've attempted to put together an  
environment to teach them Python a few times, but got bogged down  
each time (too many projects). On the other hand, they both (my  
daughter is 10 and my son is 6) picked up Scratch right away and have  
been coming up with interesting ideas and uses for it ever since.   
They give up their (very limited, we have strict limits for all  
electronic media) time on the Nintendo DS in order to write Scratch  

Now my daughter is running into the limits of Scratch and her  
ambitions are exceeding those limits (and where she goes, my son soon  
tries to follow).  I'm beginning to show her the ropes with PyGame  
and she is watching over my shoulder.  When a sprite moved down  
instead of up when we pressed the up arrow, she said, "Let me fix  
it!"  I handed my laptop over to her, she found the right spot,  
flipped the minus sign, and we tested it.  So now she's fixed her  
first bug in Python code, I figure she's hooked.

I've also got an order at Amazon for "Squeak: Learn Programming with  
Robots" that Ted Leung talks about (comparing Squeak to Python for  
his three daughters learning to use computers) here: http:// 
www.sauria.com/blog/education/1457.  Julie Leung has her own  
perspective on it here: http://www.julieleung.com/archives/ 
002073.html.  This book has probably been mentioned here before,  
given that Andre has the first comment on Ted's blog.  I don't yet  
know whether Squeak or Python will win my kids hearts and minds  
(maybe both?), but I do know Python and PyGame run on my new Nokia N800.

All of this is anecdotal and non-academic.  Just wanted to contribute  
my data point to the discussion.


"The good thing about reinventing the wheel is that you can get a  
round one." --Douglas Crockford

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