[IAEP] Sugar Digest 2012-10-01

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Mon Oct 1 11:11:43 EDT 2012

== Sugar Digest ==

Saw this quote by William Faulkner that I couldn't resist tampering
with: "I believe that [an educated] man will not merely endure: he
will prevail."

1. The ''New York Times'' ran a article [1] on the front page of its
business section on Monday about a handful of Microsoft engineers who
are tutoring high school students in Seattle in order to spark their
interest in computer science and engineering. Nothing wrong with that,
but it is certainly not a "man bites dog" story. How does it scale?
And perhaps more important, does it really have impact when you only
begin your intervention at high school? In contrast, Estonia [2] has a
national program in programming that begins with first grade: “We want
to change thinking that computers and programs are just things as they
are. There is an opportunity to create something, and be a smart user
of technology.” Not news "fit to print" in the ''Times'', but I'm
betting the Estonia program will have real and lasting impact.

2. If my assertion is correct, then we need to ask how best to teach
programming to children. Bert Freudenberg sent an article by Bret
Victor [3] to the Sugar mailing list about "designing programming
systems for understanding programming." Victor argues that "the goals
of a programming system should be:"
* to support and encourage powerful ways of thinking"
* to enable programmers to see and understand the execution of their programs"
He contrasts this with the tutorial approach [4] taken by the
high-profile Kahn Academy.
While neither Etoys or Turtle Art currently support all of the
affordances recommended by Victor, the vector is pointed in the right

=== In the community ===

3. There are plans to hold the next OLPC SF summit in San Francisco
the weekend of October 19-21. We are holding a Sugar Camp
''following'' the summit (Oct 22-24). Please register at [5].

=== Tech Talk ===

4. I have an OLPC XO 4.0 beta machine [6]. What fun.

=== Sugar Labs ===

Visit our planet [7] for more updates about Sugar and Sugar deployments.


[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/01/technology/microsoft-sends-engineers-to-schools-to-encourage-the-next-generation.html?ref=business
[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2012/09/06/why-estonia-has-started-teaching-its-first-graders-to-code/
[3] http://worrydream.com/LearnableProgramming/
[4] http://www.khanacademy.org/cs
[5] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Sugarcamp_SF_2012
[6] http://wiki.laptop.org/go/XO_4_B1
[7] http://planet.sugarlabs.org


Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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