How to put LiveCode in the hands of more teachers/students

Share tips, tools, and other resources for helping educators bring LiveCode into the classroom

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maxs
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Re: How to put LiveCode in the hands of more teachers/studen

Post by maxs » Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:03 am

Good ideas,


Maybe an educational program for teachers and students which includes multiple choice, open source, TEST maker app. And It could be language/country adaptable.

Is this a project we can each do one part of, and then bring it together as one? If so, I'm interested.

Max

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Re: How to put LiveCode in the hands of more teachers/studen

Post by FourthWorld » Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:07 am

Should the testing component be SCORM-compliant?
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Re: How to put LiveCode in the hands of more teachers/studen

Post by Newbie4 » Mon Feb 29, 2016 4:50 am

I am a high school teacher in the Washington DC area and have been using LiveCode in my classes for almost 3 years now. Enrollment in computer science classes has quadrupled every year and last year we had to hire a second computer science teacher. Next year we will need another 1/2 teacher. We are adding additional computer classes to meet the demand for more for new classes. We now have a large computer club and 3 Cybersecurity teams (1 all-girls, 2-mixed). Many students have gone on to major in Computer Science at the universities. Tuesday, I am invited to a reception at the U.S. Congress for my students who swept all places in the Congressional App Challenge in their districts. LiveCode rules!!

I attribute our growth to LiveCode and the change in teaching approach. With LiveCode, programs can be creative, more ambitious and more relevant. The students learn faster and are more engaged. LiveCode gets them beyond the belief that programming is hard or beyond their capabilities.

We start out with many games, then do apps, then tackle more adventuresome topics and concepts such as Artificial Intelligence (and create a personalized Siri), Digital Images (modifying our own photos), Big Data (tens of millions of records), data structures, and more. We cover much ground but no one is lost or drops out. They work hard but they enjoy what they are doing and are proud of what they have produced. It is so much more satisfying than teaching Java, Python and other languages. LiveCode is a great language to teach and use.

My principal has seen the results and now fully supports me. In fact, he is leading the fight and promoting what we are doing to the school district. Maybe, this is the way we need to go in promoting LiveCode in other schools

The problems getting into classrooms and schools are:

1) Lack of visibility or recognition.
- No one knows LiveCode, what has been written in it or who has worked with it. They recognize Scratch, App Inventor and a host of other languages. They will always choose Scratch over LiveCode. They will not even seriously entertain it.

2) Confusion/Difficulty getting started
- There are so many versions, it is overwhelming. There are versions with terms such as dp/rc/stable. There is Community/Indy/Business/Server. 
When they download the latest version, they encounter problems and inconsistencies and are told to try a different version. Different versions are recommended in the forums.
The if they do finish their app and go to deploy it on a phone, they fail. It is then a discouraging and uphill battle. Many just give up and disparage LiveCode. There are too many problems matching the correct versions of LiveCode/xCode/iOS/Android/SDK. 

- They need a specific recommended version (6.4?) and roadmap to start out with.

3) No Simple Learning Path
- There are examples and lessons but they are generally too ambitious, hard to follow and go too fast. They are excellent tutorials - but for more experienced people. Beginners get lost and confused. The run into problems where it was assumed that they knew something. A simple typo causes problems. They made the typo because they did not fully understand what they were typing. 

- They need simple 1-2-3 step programs to write that they can understand, write and build up their confidence. Don’t tackle Flappy Birds out of the gate. Build up to it with small successes.


Educational outreach - make available a free getting started package for teachers to try out the language. Make it a short, small project that can be used with a club, a small class, as a break for a current class, or for a special group of students - gifted students who are bored, at-risk students who are disenchanted with school, special Ed students, etc. Provide all the materials (assignments, worksheets, assessments, FAQ’s and special instructions to the teachers who have no programming experience at all). Make it easy for them to try out the language and see the results.

You could promote it as requiring no programming experience necessary for teachers or students. Many schools are wanting to start computer programming in their schools but can not find qualified computer science teachers. So they are looking seriously at online courses such as code.org. Give them a better option than that.

This will get them to at least, look at LiveCode and maybe try it. You have to show them not just tell them that LiveCode is easy. MAKE IT EASY.

It is hard getting much changed at the larger districts/schools. There are many levels of bureaucracy and many stages to getting anything new to even be considered. It requires many pages of proposals, discussions, planning, documentation and full course materials, It takes time and work. Then they will ask who else is using it and we are back to the visibility and recognition issue.

I tried contests, but those usually end up discouraging starters. More experienced coders usually win. Besides, a contest is not an effective way of learning a new language. You are under a time deadline and often experience problems that a beginner can’t solve. Students usually plan a game that is beyond their skills and get discouraged anyway.

As far as providing teacher tools, that may not be a reason to adopt a language. Free tools do not usually meet your needs and you end up spending the time modifying the tool and not really learning the language.

There is an outcry for more STEM courses and Computer Science. Find an easy way for LiveCode to meet that need.
Cyril Pruszko
https://sites.google.com/a/pgcps.org/livecode/
https://sites.google.com/a/setonhs.org/app-and-game-workshop/home
https://learntolivecode.com/

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Re: How to put LiveCode in the hands of more teachers/studen

Post by FourthWorld » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:26 pm

Excellent points, Newbie4. Let's see if we can find the sortest most effective path to realizing them:

1) Lack of visibility or recognition.
I believe this is a function of time, potentially shortenable in logarithmic proportion to the number of software packages made and shared with LiveCode.

All popular development tools in the 21st century are open source, and LC has only been open source less than three years. Let's build stuff, share stuff, and as more stuff gets shared this problem will work itself out organically for LC as it has for all other popular languages.

2) Confusion/Difficulty getting started
The multiplicity of versions has happened for historical reasons unlikely to be replicated, and is coming to an end very soon. V6 and v7 were branches needed to work out specific deep technology shifts (Cocoa and Unicode, respectively), and all are merged into v8 which also provides the Builder extensibility subsystem along with more than a thousand other fixes and enhancements.

Once v8.0 goes final support will end for earlier versions, so the future becomes more like most other software in which there are only two versions at any given time that we need to think about: users use the latest Stable build, testers use the latest Developer Preview to ensure the next Stable build does everything it needs to do.

So with 8.0 and later, just use the latest Stable. In fact, I would encourage that even now, which means v7.1.2. All software will have new versions in development, so encouraging folks to use the most recent Stable build will simplify the versioning question with one simple and nearly universally-used rule.

As for the various closed-source commercial editions, as valuable as those are to entrepreneurs and other commercial ventures, for education the Community Edition is a great choice. Governed by the GPL, the license is all about sharing work freely, which encourages proliferation and diversity that contrtibutes to solving problem #1 above, and also carries no payment cost as an extra bonus.

With the Community Edition, everyone on the planet can build and share LiveCode applications right now.

3) No Simple Learning Path
This is a key challenge caused in part by having a very large number of learning resources throughout the community. This is clearly a better problem to have than to have too few. The trick now is to sort through the resources to curate learning paths for specific types of users.

Nearly all of LC's documentation is now available online in Markdown format, and is increasingly being modularized in part to support learner-specific curation paths.

I suspect that if an experienced educator were to review the existing materials, from the User Guide to the Lessons repository to externals sites like Devin Assay's BYU site and more, one could assemble a learning path for a particular set of interests or age groups with relatively minimal effort.

Perhaps we might identify a few specific audiences (grade school, high school, higher ed? others more specific) with an eye for the pedagological requirements unique to each group, and define an outline for each for the scope and sequence for learning LiveCode effectively within each group.

I have no formal training in pedagogy, but perhaps my vast collection of bookmarks and my familiarity with the breadth of LC learning materials across our community can help flesh out those outlines into meaningful courses.
Richard Gaskin
Community volunteer LiveCode Community Liaison

LiveCode development, training, and consulting services: Fourth World Systems: http://FourthWorld.com
LiveCode User Group on Facebook : http://FaceBook.com/groups/LiveCodeUsers/

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Re: How to put LiveCode in the hands of more teachers/studen

Post by maxs » Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:19 pm

Hi Tore, thats a good start to find out specifically what is needed.

Here is what I'd like to see:
1. A kid-friendly dictionary alternative.
2. Basic Coding concepts like "if then", repeat loops, functions, variables.
3. Getting Started fundamentals.
4. Creating Games
5. Basic Animation

DO you think this could work out a team effort?

Max

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Re: How to put LiveCode in the hands of more teachers/studen

Post by elamast » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:03 pm

In the U.S. it is true that much of education now is geared toward teaching toward proficiency exams, a situation brought about (IMHO) largely because of (some) teachers who didn't attend to the basics. There is a happy medium to be found for the hours spent in the classroom. The pendulum will swing back in time.

LiveCode has a unique opportunity to try and woo educators by tailoring packages just for them and their students, making a whole lot of things free or reduced cost. Apple went this way and made teachers into their evangelists. However, in later years Apple largely abandoned those efforts, which is what brought a lot of "PCs" in the door that weren't Apple. I think Apple may regret this down the road.

Right now, Microsoft is doing a decent job of trying to get its tools into the hands of educators and students. The Dreamspark program, with free software, is going to help drive programmers to learn Visual Studio. They're not going to be driven toward LiveCode without a aggressive campaign using teacher evangelists. Teachers will be hooked when given lots of free tools (non-crippled) and instruction on how to use them to make all kinds of useful software...and the finished product needs to LOOK GOOD. It can't look like something created with ToolBook in the 1990's. It needs to have the look and feel of modern web design. HTML5 is part of that, but different frameworks also need to be easily supported.

Additionally, LiveCode should be able to output to SCORM an TINCAN/Experience packages. These are the modern eLearning standards that would also help drive acceptance in academic circles. HTML5 output is a big part of getting there.

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Re: How to put LiveCode in the hands of more teachers/studen

Post by wprothero » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:34 pm

FYI:
Check out Richmond's FB page:
https://www.facebook.com/RMLCclasses

Lots of good stuff there.
Bill

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Re: How to put LiveCode in the hands of more teachers/studen

Post by wprothero » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:37 pm

One more comment:
I think it's important to keep in mind that there are two possible goals. One is the actual teaching of programming. The other is actually using livecode to teach other subjects. Although one depends on the other, the goals are quite different and perhaps the resources that might be developed to support each goal are different.

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Re: How to put LiveCode in the hands of more teachers/studen

Post by elamast » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:52 pm

Agreed. My comments were more addressed to the idea that LiveCode needs to be essentially given away to educators and students (and again, with all the bells and whistles of the full product) if it's going to get the mindshare needed to leap ahead. What will be developed by educators from that should be very interesting, and probably a lot of things nobody thought of before. We could see some excellent curriculum developed this way.

The only restriction that LiveCode should place on educators or students is that they can't use what they create outside of an education setting without paying.

My two cents.

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Re: How to put LiveCode in the hands of more teachers/studen

Post by FourthWorld » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:57 pm

elamast wrote:Agreed. My comments were more addressed to the idea that LiveCode needs to be essentially given away to educators and students (and again, with all the bells and whistles of the full product) if it's going to get the mindshare needed to leap ahead.
What specific features are in the "full product" that you feel are holding folks back from using the Community Edition?
Richard Gaskin
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LiveCode User Group on Facebook : http://FaceBook.com/groups/LiveCodeUsers/

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Re: How to put LiveCode in the hands of more teachers/studen

Post by capellan » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:20 pm

Hi All,

Years ago, I used LiveCode in my Design Classes
(3 hours daily, except Wednesday, for two weeks
only 24 hours total)
Back then, Livecode was named MetaCard
and RevMedia and my results were really good.

Stacks that I used provided demonstrations,
practical exercises and multiple choice tests
about Design Theory, Macromedia FreeHand
and Adobe Photoshop.

If all my students had computers in their homes
to practice and learn all topics from my classes,
results would have been outstanding.

Reading all your ideas and comments, I just remember these
stacks published by Scott Raney: (Right-Click to download
these stacks to your disk)
http://www.canelasoftware.com/mc/metacard24/mtp.mc
http://www.canelasoftware.com/mc/metacard24/mtpguide.mc

Read here about the contents and purposes of both stacks:
MetaTalk Programmer and MetaTalk Programmer Guide.
http://www.metacard.com/pi6.html

I asked Scott Raney to make a small change to a specific
programming task... and that was years before
September 11 2001.

You will find that many of your proposals and ideas are implemented
in rudimentary form in these stacks.

Please, check both stacks and write back about how to
update and enhance these LiveCode programming lessons
(like modern images, small animations, fullscreen layout,
android, iOS, HTML5, Linux deployment)

Have a nice week!

Alejandro
Last edited by capellan on Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to put LiveCode in the hands of more teachers/studen

Post by wprothero » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:28 pm

Alejandro:
As one who has never purchased or used Metacard, how might I open these nice stacks?
Bill

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Re: How to put LiveCode in the hands of more teachers/studen

Post by capellan » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:37 pm

Hi Bill,

I opened the stack with LiveCode 7.1
MetaTalk Programmer.jpg
Screenshot MetaTalk Programmer LiveCode 7.1

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Re: How to put LiveCode in the hands of more teachers/studen

Post by wprothero » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:52 pm

Ok, it opens with 7.1.2. I had just tried double clicking it and it wouldn't open, but it seems LC remembers older suffixes and when I first opened LC then went to "Open Stack", it got it.

Nice stack. Probably a few UI changes to make it LiveCode specific would give us a great resource. Also, nice cartoons. Looks like it could be very effective.

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Re: How to put LiveCode in the hands of more teachers/studen

Post by capellan » Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:25 pm

Yes, the course is really nice, but still today
there are fundamental differences in the engine
among Operating Systems...

For example, this snippet, from the
MetaTalk Programmer Course
does not works in Ubuntu Linux,
using LC 7.1

on mouseUp
play "Lie"
end mouseUp

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