[IAEP] [squeakland] Why is Scratch more popular than Etoys?

Jecel Assumpcao Jr. jecel at merlintec.com
Sun Sep 18 16:57:55 EDT 2011

About programming for the masses, I see two educational reasons to
insist on that. One (rather weak) reason is to demystify something that
is everywhere. People will be dealing with software all the time and if
having done one or two toy applications as a child makes them see that
it is not magic then that is nice.

A much better reason is Papert's: so the children will have an object to
think with. The idea is to learn to learn but we need a suitable way to
talk about learning strategies. Normal school tends to encourage a very
poor strategy: take a guess, see if the teacher confirms it is right and
if not take another guess. Not only is the search time long and
unbounded, you also need some external way of checking your results
which is something you won't always have.

Teaching programming is just a way to be able to teach debugging, or
successive approximation. You don't throw away incorrect attempts but
instead build on them. And you learn to figure out for yourself if they
are correct or not, and how far and in what way they are incorrect so
you know what to change.

-- Jecel

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