Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Teaching software development? Using LiveCode to build your curriculum? This is the forum for you.

Moderators: heatherlaine, Klaus, FourthWorld, robinmiller, kevinmiller

Newbie4
VIP Livecode Opensource Backer
VIP Livecode Opensource Backer
Posts: 270
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:17 am
Location: USA
Contact:

Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by Newbie4 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:42 am

There was an interesting post in the Computer Science Educator's group in Facebook: "Why do so few schools try LiveCode..." https://computinged.wordpress.com/2017/ ... our-tools/ It is worth reading as well as following his links and reading the comments at the bottom

It was written by a well-known and well-followed blogger. He is a respected teacher and computer scientist. It turns out that he is an avid LiveCoder.

He says:
The LiveCode folks have just put together a web page (linked below) describing some of the reasons why teachers should consider LiveCode. But in general, we don’t. Why not? I have two guesses:
1. There is no community of practice. There isn’t a visible community of teachers using LiveCode. There isn’t an obvious industry call for more LiveCode programmers.
2. We in computing education are mostly driven by surface-level interpretations of industry needs. It isn’t obvious that it must be so, or even that it should be so. But the same forces that killed Pascal and promoted Python, Java, and C++ as our intro languages prevent LiveCode from getting adopted.
Any observations, agreement, ideas? Any suggestions what we can do to help?

He wrote this in April 2012 https://computinged.wordpress.com/2012/ ... -practice/ and taught his class that year using LiveCode. What happened that he no longer promotes or uses LiveCode? Has this happened to you?

Are there other teachers of LiveCode out there? Are you part of the problem? Is it RunRev's fault for not providing the support and help? What do you need from RunRev to be more successful with LiveCode in your classroom? To get it more accepted into the curriculum?
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/

bogs
Posts: 1755
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:45 pm

Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by bogs » Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:33 am

Both articles were an interesting read for me. Even though I never had a 'formal' education in programming, I do remember when the schools around here were developing courses to teach it. They usually started (again, around here) with a version of basic in the middle grades, often (surprisingly) in electronics classes. Keep in mind, this was before what I consider 'modern' computers came around, for instance we didn't have a monitor :P

I also remember Pascal, and later Delphi being mentioned a lot in education. I actually have some books on Borland's Pascal releases. Frankly, I liked both. C had been around a long time, and was primarily taught in the higher education settings at the time. C had a sharp learning curve, especially if you had started out with basic, then seemed to level out after you unlearned all the problematic structures basic let you get away with.

I still dabble with free pascal/Lazarus, probably the closest thing I've seen to Delphi that is really cross platform. Just some thoughts, no answers really.

*Corrected for things that somehow got past me the first time <shuddering>
Last edited by bogs on Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Image

atmosk
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:50 pm

Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by atmosk » Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:21 am

While the usefulness (from the ease of employment pov) is pretty much a one punch wreckage for LC, I think LC could actually fill a major gap in programming and that's providing a starting point for non-english speaking children.
From personal experience, the single biggest obstacle for my nephews (4 and 6) has been English and while they both can read and write in their native language, adding the complexities of programming on top of a new language has been a bit too much of a hurdle to over come.

So, perhaps one thing to put into the endless bin of 'Amazing ideas' could be a xml/json translation kit. With enough community interest/volunteers this could usher in an entirely new era for LC (while powerful in more than one way) because I don't think LC can compete against Python, JS/html and other mammoths. Yet due to it's syntax, even non-professionals could translate most of LC's commands/functions into their native language.

FourthWorld
VIP Livecode Opensource Backer
VIP Livecode Opensource Backer
Posts: 5938
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2006 7:05 am
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by FourthWorld » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:32 pm

atmosk wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:21 am
While the usefulness (from the ease of employment pov) is pretty much a one punch wreckage for LC, I think LC could actually fill a major gap in programming and that's providing a starting point for non-english speaking children.
From personal experience, the single biggest obstacle for my nephews (4 and 6) has been English and while they both can read and write in their native language, adding the complexities of programming on top of a new language has been a bit too much of a hurdle to over come.

So, perhaps one thing to put into the endless bin of 'Amazing ideas' could be a xml/json translation kit. With enough community interest/volunteers this could usher in an entirely new era for LC (while powerful in more than one way) because I don't think LC can compete against Python, JS/html and other mammoths. Yet due to it's syntax, even non-professionals could translate most of LC's commands/functions into their native language.
This sounds like it could be a great community project.
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/

AxWald
Posts: 309
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:57 pm

Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by AxWald » Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:19 pm

Hi,
atmosk wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:21 am
From personal experience, the single biggest obstacle for my nephews (4 and 6) has been English and while they both can read and write in their native language, adding the complexities of programming on top of a new language has been a bit too much of a hurdle to over come.
I think this is a misguided view: When learning a programming language, you need to learn new words/ syntax anyways - why learn cryptic words/ syntax/ bracket rules that's specifically to a certain programming language, when you could learn LiveCode, where you learn English as a welcome benefit?
Your nephews will need to learn English sooner or later, anyways. It has (due to its unrivaled simpleness) itself established as "lingua franca", every educated person on this planet will need at least a basic knowledge of it, for any better job.

Why not use the opportunity to start learning it in a playful manner, when starting learning LC? This way they'll get interested, will soon get themselves a dictionary, and will learn, by own choice, more than any English teacher at school could teach them.
And if you want to accelerate this, show them a good multiplayer online game and have them play on an international server ;-)

For sure, translated dictionaries would be very helpful for the beginning.

Have fun!

PS: I'm no native English speaker and have improved my basic school English mainly by learning to code in HyperCard ;-)
Livecode programming until the cat hits the fan ...

jmburnod
VIP Livecode Opensource Backer
VIP Livecode Opensource Backer
Posts: 2174
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:35 pm
Location: Genève
Contact:

Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by jmburnod » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:03 pm

Hi All,
I use Livecode each day with special needs childs. We experiment and for me english langage is not a problem but an opportunity to learn english and play to create objects or handler name. Believe me, that is easier in english than french.
I never met issues about learn a new word like mousedown, mouseup, location etc...
Best regards
Jean-Marc

atmosk
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:50 pm

Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by atmosk » Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:33 pm

AxWald wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:19 pm
Hi,
atmosk wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:21 am
From personal experience, the single biggest obstacle for my nephews (4 and 6) has been English and while they both can read and write in their native language, adding the complexities of programming on top of a new language has been a bit too much of a hurdle to over come.
I think this is a misguided view: When learning a programming language, you need to learn new words/ syntax anyways - why learn cryptic words/ syntax/ bracket rules that's specifically to a certain programming language, when you could learn LiveCode, where you learn English as a welcome benefit?
Your nephews will need to learn English sooner or later, anyways. It has (due to its unrivaled simpleness) itself established as "lingua franca", every educated person on this planet will need at least a basic knowledge of it, for any better job.

Why not use the opportunity to start learning it in a playful manner, when starting learning LC? This way they'll get interested, will soon get themselves a dictionary, and will learn, by own choice, more than any English teacher at school could teach them.
And if you want to accelerate this, show them a good multiplayer online game and have them play on an international server ;-)

For sure, translated dictionaries would be very helpful for the beginning.

Have fun!

PS: I'm no native English speaker and have improved my basic school English mainly by learning to code in HyperCard ;-)
I almost entirely agree with you and I do teach them English as much as I can.

What I'm trying to get at is the huge amounts of people who won't be exposed to English on any level just because it has no value to them. From factory workers in China to Russian high school kids who can get every game (and related UIs) in their native language.
That's essentially LC's target audience already, but due to the language restriction misses a massive chunk of that audience. Translating any other programming language to be e.g. Spanish-esque would not only require expertise in that target language (Spanish), but also in the programming language and programming in general. Now, based on gut feelings and guesstimations, I think LC could be translated to any given language with very little to no programming experience.
The significance of that should be pretty obvious as the amount of potential translators would go from tens/hundreds/thousands to millions of potential translators making it an actually feasible goal to cover most major languages. Sure, only a fraction of those millions would bother with the massive task of translating an 'obscure' programming language, but a fraction from millions is still a lot more than a fraction from hundred.

Don't get me wrong. I think the world would be a great place if everyone learned a single language and beep boop we're in the paradise, but obviously that's a pipe dream that has probably existed ever since we mastered rhythmic grunting.

Regardless, it would be a massive undertaking to develop everything related to what I suggested and that's why I downplayed it as a dime-a-dozen-amazing-idea from the "beloved" ideaman character, but if just hypothetically speaking then I think it is a pretty decent idea/solution to a problem that isn't being tackled by anyone worth their weight.

shaosean
Posts: 905
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:53 am

Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by shaosean » Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:58 pm

Pretty much every main programming language has English-only function names.. If you're looking for non-English languages take a look at assembly or Ook! <https://esolangs.org/wiki/Ook!> and then you'll appreciate LiveCode ;)

jacque
VIP Livecode Opensource Backer
VIP Livecode Opensource Backer
Posts: 4388
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2006 8:31 pm
Location: Minneapolis MN
Contact:

Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by jacque » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:14 pm

I wonder how translations would deal with noun genders, something English doesn't have. Incorrect gender translation could produce some embarrassingly funny results.
Jacqueline Landman Gay | jacque at hyperactivesw dot com
HyperActive Software | http://www.hyperactivesw.com

jmburnod
VIP Livecode Opensource Backer
VIP Livecode Opensource Backer
Posts: 2174
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:35 pm
Location: Genève
Contact:

Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by jmburnod » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:09 pm

Incorrect gender translation could produce some embarrassingly funny results.
Yes, and how talking livecode with developers whose speak an other langage ?
English for LiveCode is like latin for botanists.

capellan
Posts: 418
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:09 pm
Contact:

Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by capellan » Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:44 am

It's important that teachers (who want to use LiveCode in their classroom) understand that exist a clear and defined difference between:

1) Learning Computer Programming using LiveCode and
2) Learning to use LiveCode, the Programming Platform

If my guess is correct, Computer Programming classes use less than 70% of LiveCode features.
Teachers who use LiveCode to teach Computer Programming rarely have enough classroom time to teach all LiveCode features and how to use them with effective proficiency.

How many School Teachers know how to program LiveCode Externals?
Or LiveCode Server?
Or Databases?
Or...?

In fact, LiveCode is so versatile that anyone could use LiveCode to teach interactively how to program in other computer languages. That is something that very few computer languages could do as easily as LiveCode.

By the way, many years ago, someone posted to the HyperCard mail list that he had found multiple localized versions of HyperCard. It was so many years ago, that I do not remember the year or which specific HyperCard mail list was.

A few Developers, that replied to that post, stated that they have used very early releases of HyperCard, localized and translated for their particular country language... but these early versions are as difficult to find as a demo copy of Aldus Freehand that included SuperTalk scripting language or HyperCard 3.0 stacks/movies :shock:

After the Development Team implements the Open Language Feature, hopefully, LiveCode will allows translating the scripting language from english to other tongues like french, german, chinese and spanish:
"We will introduce a new technology called “Open Language”. With Open Language, the more technical members of our community can create English-like words and phrases to enable everyone to write programs that use any aspect of a computer or device." Text from this page:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/17 ... escription

Al

capellan
Posts: 418
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:09 pm
Contact:

Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by capellan » Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:09 pm

How many of you completed Scott Raney's course: MetaTalk Programmer?
This is a programming course for school students.
http://www.canelasoftware.com/mc/metacard25/mtp.mc
http://www.canelasoftware.com/mc/metacard25/mtpguide.mc

15 years ago (2002), I asked permission to Scott Raney for translating his
course to spanish for my students. It was really easy, because the course
script's are very straightforward.

My students liked the course because it was very easy to understand.
Learning and practicing programming concepts in their own language
demonstrated them that they could learn how to program computers.

Unfortunately, the lab supervisor told me that I could not use student's time
and computer labs resources for teaching a course that was not scheduled.

For a few weeks, I learned that programming in your own tongue
made all the difference for these students.

Al

richmond62
Livecode Opensource Backer
Livecode Opensource Backer
Posts: 2437
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:17 am
Location: Bulgaria
Contact:

Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by richmond62 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:17 pm

I belong to this organisation:

http://community.computingatschool.org.uk/

which is mainly concerned with teaching programming at schools in England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

[Perhaps it is useful to point out that Scotland has a different educational system to England and Wales.]

I, also, teach EFL to a large number of children who have shown me and talked about what they are doing in terms of programming at schools in Bulgaria. The content of school programming courses here (Bulgaria) differ little from those on the British Isles, but the teaching methods are far more didactic.

And over the last 3 years that I have tried pushing LiveCode I have come to some not-very-startling conclusions:

1. All teaching to do with computers is 100% exam driven, & the examination boards dictate which programming languages educators should use for the simple reason that most of their examiners are only able to assess programs written in an extremely limited number of languages.

2. Most teachers, having got themselves "comfortably situated" with one or two programming languages
(which generally coincide with those forced on them by the exam boards, big surprise) have no motivation to invest time and effort in learning another programming language (whether it be LiveCode or other).

3. This charmed circle of programming languages is incredibly difficult to break into, not because the programming languages inwith the charmed circle have any particular virtue over those outwith the circle, but just because they are already there.

To understand this it might be useful to ask the following questions:

3.1. Why did the VHS videotape "win" the race over the Betamax format when the Betamax format was superior?

3.2. Why do the vast majority of people deploy versions of the Windows OS on their computers when Windows is demonstrably extremely inefficient in terms of resource use when compared with Linux varieties?

Over the last few years I have developed a programme that gets children into computer programming quickly and painlessly; I start with BBC BASIC on BBC Micro emulators, and then transition to LiveCode.

I can also give a 30 minute talk about how this works, and how, in a matter of about 12 - 15 contact hours I can get children doing things that most schools seem to take a year to achieve.

The standard response to my talk is "but they need to learn C++", "they need Visual Basic", "they need Java (script)"; and for why? Because, supposedly, that's what the market demands, and in reality, because of #1 and #2 above.

I do believe that the only way to get a huge uptake in LiveCode for education would be for LiveCode itself to invest vast sums in residential 3-4 day courses for teachers, and when/if a large number of teachers could see its benefits they would bring force to bear on the examination boards.

Now, as we all know, the good people at LiveCode have to put bread and cheese in their fridges, as well as keeping their shareholders happy, and whether renting some mansion near Edinburgh for all expenses paid, bed, grub, entertainment and LiveCode programming instruction half-terms for bunches of teachers would do when the auditors and/or financial experts looked at things I just don't know.

CERTAINLY before anything like the above could be entertained someone has to get their clutches on some past papers and work through just exactly what they would have to get teachers on that sort of course doing to make it make any pedagogical sense at all.

I abhor all types of exams (not that that has stopped me from taking lots and lots of the blasted things), and would far rather live in a society that did not depend on them and their results (although there is quite a loud voice in my head asking whether a society without some form of assessment would manage to function in any way except very badly), but recognise that that is the way the world works, and, like it or not, teaching towards an exam syllabus (as opposed to teaching a subject and then because the pupils' understanding is marvellous they just romp through the exam) is a reality, and a reality that seems to inform 99% of all education at the moment right across Europe (except, perhaps, in Finland).

capellan
Posts: 418
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:09 pm
Contact:

Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by capellan » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:57 am

If they want to teach C++, Java, Python, Javascript, etc, etc, then
let's teach them how to use LiveCode to make an interactive course
for their language of choice! :lol:

richmond62
Livecode Opensource Backer
Livecode Opensource Backer
Posts: 2437
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:17 am
Location: Bulgaria
Contact:

Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by richmond62 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:20 am

On the Computing At School association forums where I cross-posted my long wibble yesterday a chap replied with an almost equally long wibble of which the most salient point is probably this:
I have never tried LiveCode because (drum roll) until I saw posts about it by Richmond, I had never heard of it. If I ever get time, I might look at it, but it’s one of many other new things to try with precious little time.
To which I replied:

” I had never heard of it. “

Well, now you have! And I will be banging on about it quite a bit as as an entry-level programming environment it takes a lot of beating, and as a full-blown programming system it knocks the socks off a lot of other ones.

Educational Backup is here:

https://livecode.com/resources/

https://livecode.com/products/education-packs/

The only b*tch I have with LiveCode is that they are bl**dy bad at pushing their product.

Richmond

Post Reply

Return to “Teaching with LiveCode”