Tuesday, May 15, 2007

"Scratch" Me Some Code

The most emailed story on BBC News at this moment in time is about Scratch:

A free programming tool that allows anyone to create their own animated stories, video games and interactive artworks

I mean to take a look at this a little later on, but the signs are encouraging. There's a danger with programming that as developers need languages to do more and more, then that language will become more and more complicated to learn.

My sister's a teacher, and I can remember her asking if I knew of anything that might make teaching IT more exciting. I couldn't think of anything at the time that would be simple enough for a class of eight year olds, but maybe Scratch is what I was looking for.

Having a language such as this that (at first glance) doesn't seem to require people to type that much, can only really be advantageous to the industry. It's likely to get kids interested in programming from a young age.

The danger with simplifying programming is that it can let you develop bad habits, but Scratch seems so far removed from the actual coding process that its unlikely that this will happen.

Hopefully kids won't get the impression that programming is as simple as point and click though, as they're in for a shock if they do :)

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