Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

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

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richmond62
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Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by richmond62 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:01 pm

27th of November, presumably.

Nothing odd there.

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

Post by bogs » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:25 pm

Sorry Al, I thought you were joking ! :oops: Like richmond62 says, 4 days ago, about the middle of the 2nd page I think :)
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Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by capellan » Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:02 am

Ok, now I understand! :)

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

Post by jacque » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:40 pm

I believe a very large part of this is that LiveCode (the people in Edinburgh) have ALWAYS has
an ambivalent attitude towards education
You must have forgotten the year-long marketing effort a few years ago where education was the primary push. The one that resulted in Scotland putting LC in all schools across the country to be taught as a first programming language. The push for use in education continued for some time after that, with a primary goal of getting it next into the US, but the fragmentary nature of American school curriculums made that infeasible. Later LC turned their marketing efforts to Africa and China.

Negative comments about assumptions are unproductive. How much do any of us actually know about LC marketing efforts? Until it happened, who knew they were moving into the FM area?
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Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by richmond62 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:44 pm

You must have forgotten the year-long marketing effort a few years ago where education was the primary push.
No, I haven't forgotten that, but the key words in your reply must surely be "a few years ago" as what seems to be needed is constant pressure.

I get most of my information not from Bulgaria (another wee country like Scotland) but from the CAS forums which, inevitably, is dominated by teachers in the English education system.

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

Post by FourthWorld » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:21 pm

richmond62 wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:44 pm
You must have forgotten the year-long marketing effort a few years ago where education was the primary push.
No, I haven't forgotten that, but the key words in your reply must surely be "a few years ago" as what seems to be needed is constant pressure.
I can think of many things that would be useful, but why "constant pressure" specifically?
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Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by bogs » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:50 pm

jacque wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:40 pm
You must have forgotten the year-long marketing effort a few years ago where education was the primary push. The one that resulted in Scotland putting LC in all schools across the country to be taught as a first programming language.
I am actually really interested in the above underlined, since that is this whole discussion in miniature. If every school in Scotland really did have Lc as a primary teaching language, what was the outcome of that? Is it still going on? Did they abandon it for language xyz? Did the people learning benefit? Not benefit?

Seems to me, if you really want to know why, this would be the place to start. After all, if it was a raging success in some measure, I'm pretty sure it would be easier to propose it to other educational systems.
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Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by Newbie4 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:53 pm

I agree. If LiveCode is to become successful in the educational arena, this needs to be a coordinated effort.

We care about it's success and want to help. We have unique experiences with LiveCode into our classrooms (or not) We have overcome challenges, had successes and important feedback to offer. likewise, LiveCode had had successes (and failures) from its end of the effort.

We need to share our knowledge and experiences, share strategies and come up with a coordinated, well planned strategy. We are all after the same goal. Why not work together?

LiveCode should
1) survey all teachers who have used, tried to use, failed to use,... LiveCode in the classroom. Gather all relevant information.
2) Evaluate and analyze previous marketing efforts that have tried in the past
3) form a working group of teachers to compile and discuss the collected insights and come up with a number of recommended strategies and campaigns to get LiveCode into the classroom.
4) Evaluate the recommendations in terms of funds, time and manpower and choose one or more to implement

There are many valuable resources out there wanting to help LiveCode and who want to be involved. LiveCode really needs to involve them to increase its chances of success
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: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by FourthWorld » Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:17 pm

Newbie4 wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:53 pm
I agree. If LiveCode is to become successful in the educational arena, this needs to be a coordinated effort.

We care about it's success and want to help. We have unique experiences with LiveCode into our classrooms (or not) We have overcome challenges, had successes and important feedback to offer. likewise, LiveCode had had successes (and failures) from its end of the effort.

We need to share our knowledge and experiences, share strategies and come up with a coordinated, well planned strategy. We are all after the same goal. Why not work together?

LiveCode should
1) survey all teachers who have used, tried to use, failed to use,... LiveCode in the classroom. Gather all relevant information.
2) Evaluate and analyze previous marketing efforts that have tried in the past
3) form a working group of teachers to compile and discuss the collected insights and come up with a number of recommended strategies and campaigns to get LiveCode into the classroom.
4) Evaluate the recommendations in terms of funds, time and manpower and choose one or more to implement

There are many valuable resources out there wanting to help LiveCode and who want to be involved. LiveCode really needs to involve them to increase its chances of success
That's a well thought out work plan. What would you estimate is the number of hours needed to complete it?
Richard Gaskin
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Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by FourthWorld » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:29 am

This was a particularly useful post - I've been distracted with a few other things, but there are some valuable ideas here we should explore:
Newbie4 wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:35 am
Thank you.
You bring up some good points worth discussing. We need to have more dialog not only with runRev but also other teachers and professionals. There are many approaches to the problem of getting a wider adoption of LiveCode, especially in the classroom.
Shortly after the San Diego conference, where I organized a Teaching with LiveCode panel, we created an Educational Outreach forum here - please consider contributing any threads you think would be useful for such activities:
http://forums.livecode.com/viewforum.php?f=107
My original post referenced a recent blog on LiveCode from a well known and respected educator.....
Yes, he has quite a good reputation and pedigree. I think he may work with Lloyd Rieber, no? Lloyd's blog is good too.

Have you corresponded with Mr. Guzdial on this? If not I'll see if I can get some time to reach out to him and pick his brain a bit.

That's an example of one of the challenges we face: I'd love to do more with LC for EDU, but I'm not a teacher and between my professional, family, and personal goals and obligations I have little time available for things so peripheral to my core tasks.

Among teachers in our community I see a similar dynamic, but opposite: this is core to their interests, but being teachers they're already so overworked (ever met a teacher who wasn't grading papers every weekend?) it's hard for them to get time to take on a role like Community Education Outreach Team Leader.

So the seemingly obvious solution would be for the folks at LC Ltd. to hire someone. But with more than 70% of LiveCoders using the free and open Community Edition, the subsidies from the proprietary edition that make that possible are just enough for the technical work required, and leave no extra staff sitting around looking for new things to do. :)

And among educators the Community Edition is the perfect fit, in large part because it costs their own already-constrained budgets $0.00 to jump on board. But for that reason, any expense the company undertakes in EDU has very little upside, almost none really. Any potential upside is years down the road, as students graduate and a portion of them starting software businesses may consider a proprietary license. Small returns too far into the future to justify non-trivial immediate expense.

Mindshare is valuable but, as we learned in the dotbomb era, only when the cost to obtain it occurs within a business plan in which it brings a positive ROI. You can't spend mindshare at the corner grocery. :)

So for the near term, the company is mostly focused on the segment most addressible by the product and with the best prospects for ROI: the independent software entrepreneur. They also have messaging for enterprise customers, and LC is quite valuable there too (some of my biggest client projects have been internal tools rather than products). But the indy dev is a particularly resonant market for LC. And one which often needs proprietary licenses, so expenses are directly measurable against return.

But that leaves us with an under-resourced EDU opportunity.

I've looked at this problem quite a lot over the last few years. I've seen too many high school kids struggling with Java. It would be nice to see that they have something kinder to work with, but one which offers more immediate results for GUIs than Python does.

I believe this can be best addressed with LiveCode Community Edition in the same way it is with the two other leading EDU options, Python and Scratch: grass roots activities by educators like Max Shafer who presents LC at the many EDU conferences he attends, augmented with grant-funded projects for specific tools, plugins, curricula guidelines, etc. for the classroom.

If we can find someone to with the intersection of skills, interest, and available time to coordinate with LC Ltd., I have a commitment from them to help steward the creation of an EDU portal there. But it'll take a combination of community involvement to pull it off; without that it'll have to wait until the pro dev focus raises sufficient funds for the longer-term/lower-return EDU outreach.

Your outline here makes the beginnings of a good blueprint for such an EDU portal:

1. We need to create a community of teachers where we can share ideas, materials, lessons and support. There are many websites with lessons and tutorials but they are fragmented and disjoint. Few of them directly address teachers and formal lesson plans for the classroom.We need an identifiable source for teachers and the educational community.
2. We need to create more awareness of LiveCode and what has been written and produced with it. The perception is that no one uses it and nothing of substance has been written with it. We need to spotlight the sheer numbed of people who are using LiveCode and the number of programs, no matter how trivial, written using LiveCode. We need some way to get people to come forward and speak up with what they have done. The community of users is out there, they are just not visible.
Perhaps you might consider posting some form of that as the beginning of a thread about the creation and stewardship of an EDU outreach portal in the Education Outreach forum.


This part will require some research, and some inventive thinking:
Employers, students, parents and the general public is clamoring for more computer courses in the schools. School districts, schools, principals are in dire need of qualified teachers and curriculum for those classes. This is a rare opportunity for LiveCode.
It is a golden era for that, but there are two challenges:

1. Districts are most easily sold on the things they already know. Yep, more Python and Scratch. To have a conversation with them about anything else requires the LC advocate having that conversation to know both of those well enough to be able to make a compelling case for LC's advantages. "It's better because it's what I know" isn't going to sell the district. :) And in all fairness, many of the things most commonly cited as LC advantages which aren't at all unique to LC anymore. The need is for a detailed comparison, one steeped in a solid understanding of how LC's distinctions benefit pedagogy specifically.

2. Common Core. Can't hold a teacher's attention for more than 5 minutes if you can't show them a roadmap that connects what LC offers, and resources in the community, to the respective slots on the K-12 Common Core guidelines. My friend Dr. Sam Coleman began putting together a summary outline of Common Core for us a while back (there's a post in the EDU Outreach forums with an early draft), but the outline is the easy part. The next part is to gather resources to fill in as many slots as possible, and figure out how to create new resources for any slots not already fillable with existing materials.

Both of these tasks are complex, and will require significant time. But I believe they are necessary steps if we want to see LC adoption in US schools as anything but an occasional niche filled by a single teacher here or there who happens to already know and love LC.

LiveCode could become the solution because 1) it is easy to teach and 2) it is easy to learn. It is the best solution for the schools now. There is an effort to use Scratch or Minecraft to bring programming to younger students but LiveCode is better. We need to step up and step in.
I like that can-do spirit.

Let's make it so.



PS: If you haven't seen this, it may provide a hook we can build on to make the case for LC:
https://epubs.scu.edu.au/cgi/viewconten ... urism_pubs
Richard Gaskin
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Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by Newbie4 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:32 am

You said:
That's a well thought out work plan. What would you estimate is the number of hours needed to complete it?
It is not a single project but an iterative process. We could start simple and build on it

#1 - LiveCode already knows some of the teachers that are using LiveCode in the classroom. They can start by sending those teachers a simple email asking for feedback, advice and ideas. Later on, they can cull their database of users for email addresses belonging to edu institutions and do some eliminations. Or they can simply do a post on this forum seeking feedback and info. This would not take long

#2 - I assume they have some idea already of how effective their marketing was. if not, they can look at new user signups and correlate that with marketing/website changes.

#3 - They can go back to the group in #1 above and present their current marketing plans along with the data from #2 above and ask for alternate marketing strategies for the Edu. market. Have them come up with recommendations based other experiences

#4 - the senior staff of liveCode can then make a more informed choice based on money, staff, time period and priorities.

As I said, this is an ongoing process and marketing strategies and methods will change as the customers, their needs and social/political/economic climates change. Marketing is an evolving process.

It does not have to be complicated or costly. Start simple and grow as the needs change.

The educational market is not a profitable one now but it can be. Included in the first iteration of this process could be a discussion of pricing. Is there a product mix and price point that would not deter a school from purchasing a LiveCode package? Ask the teachers what they would have needed to get started and at what price point. Free is always nice but most teachers/schools are willing to pay for extra materials, help, training or support. Maybe we could come up with an offering that would make the educational market self-sustaining and even profitable.

The important step is just getting started and involving the affected parties. A better strategy and outcome will result. Who knows, you might have some interested parties step in and do much of the work for you.
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: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by Newbie4 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:16 am

Fourth World:
You brought up some very good ideas and recommendations.

Scratch and Java notwithstanding, I think that Edu. LiveCode could be self-supporting and even profitable.

In evidence:
1. Employers, parents and students are clamoring for more computer classes and more women and minorities in programming. Politicians are getting involved and requiring it in the schools. School districts are under intense pressure to offer those classes in their schools. But...they do not have the qualified teachers or the curriculum to meet the demand.
LiveCode is easy to learn and easy to teach. They are turning to Scratch, Minecraft, Python and Java for answers. The teachers are not there and there are other factors. If LiveCode steps in with a ready to use solution, the discussion is over.

2. They are under pressure to attract girls and minorities. LiveCode with it's GUI and ability to do games and apps is a natural to attract those students.

3. Many states have developed Core Curriculum Standards for computer science. It is easier to teach the standards and map them to LC projects.

Any solution other than LiveCode involves extensive training, professional development, materials and other expenses. Business people are coming up with many expensive solutions. One district I know has 3 schools paying $5,000 per class per quarter for a professional programmer to Skype to the class as their teacher once a week. The other 4 days, a support teacher watches over them as they work on the week's assignment. There are many other unsatisfactory and expensive solutions. The schools have no choice.

So LiveCode does not have to rely on their open source package alone. Some combination of materials, support, product, etc is possible as a revenue stream.

Let us do some calculations. If every student has the requirement of taking a CS course, that could result in much money. In my school district there were 130,000 students. If all of those students were required to take programming and we charged only $5 per student, that would be $650,000 USD income to LC. We of course would give them a break with site licenses for every school (29 high schools alone)

Of pricing would be more reasonable based on the amount of materials provided, and other factors (like core standards, grades, support materials like tests, etc).

It might be worthwhile to contact the long-term teachers to gather the data or stories of students whose first language was LiveCode and their accomplishments, later success in programming (Java) or CS as a career choice.

Position LiveCode as the best language to learn CS principles and real life skills as logic, problem solving, analytical/computational thinking, etc which are also in the forefront of educational discussions.

All of these factors could easily justify a reasonable price:
1. Ease of implementation
2. Effectiveness as a teaching tool
3. A precursor to later learning Java, C++, and other languages without failure
4. Preparation and learning of real-life skills
5. More effective than on-line computer courses (which, sad to say, is the schools only real choice nowadays)

I do think LiveCode has a chance of being a profitable educational language at this time
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: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by FourthWorld » Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:56 am

Newbie4 wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:32 am
You said:
That's a well thought out work plan. What would you estimate is the number of hours needed to complete it?
It is not a single project but an iterative process. We could start simple and build on it

#1 - LiveCode already knows some of the teachers that are using LiveCode in the classroom. They can start by sending those teachers a simple email asking for feedback, advice and ideas. Later on, they can cull their database of users for email addresses belonging to edu institutions and do some eliminations. Or they can simply do a post on this forum seeking feedback and info. This would not take long

#2 - I assume they have some idea already of how effective their marketing was. if not, they can look at new user signups and correlate that with marketing/website changes.

#3 - They can go back to the group in #1 above and present their current marketing plans along with the data from #2 above and ask for alternate marketing strategies for the Edu. market. Have them come up with recommendations based other experiences

#4 - the senior staff of liveCode can then make a more informed choice based on money, staff, time period and priorities.

As I said, this is an ongoing process and marketing strategies and methods will change as the customers, their needs and social/political/economic climates change. Marketing is an evolving process.

It does not have to be complicated or costly. Start simple and grow as the needs change.
I like the outline very much, and sending the email (#2) is easy enough, they're well set up for targeted campaigns.

But of course the real value isn't sending the email, but reading and collating the replies. I have some experience with large-scale qualitative data analysis, and just that part of it is days of work.

Similarly, #3 requires direct personal contact with a significant subset of responants. Even if they worked that down to a shortlist of most interested people, that's another few days at least. And of course the smaller the contacted pool the less effective the program would be for spreading the word.

I don't know UK numbers, but in the States the average cost of a C++ developer is about US$70k/yr, or ~$36/hr. With the Standard Overhead rate of ~30% (taxes, benefits, etc.) employer cost is about $40/hr, or $320/day. Given ~ two to three weeks total time, internal cost would likely be ~3k - $5k, and that's just this information-gathering phase. Acting on that information would likely be a multiple. And doesn't take opportunity cost into account.

But since #4 is the evaluation of ROI, perhaps we could just cut to that chase: that decision has apparently already been made, by virtue of this market-profiling effort not already having been done. :)

The reasoning is understandable, even if undesirable, as you wrote:
The educational market is not a profitable one now but it can be. Included in the first iteration of this process could be a discussion of pricing. Is there a product mix and price point that would not deter a school from purchasing a LiveCode package? Ask the teachers what they would have needed to get started and at what price point. Free is always nice but most teachers/schools are willing to pay for extra materials, help, training or support. Maybe we could come up with an offering that would make the educational market self-sustaining and even profitable.
Teachers need free. They can get funds for some things, but not likely programming languages since all the others they're already being nudged to be using are all free.

LC does offer some low-priced options, but for any money to change hands it needs to be compelling at the district level, and for that we need to Common Core map and a teaching guide to do with it. A fair bit of research.

The important step is just getting started and involving the affected parties. A better strategy and outcome will result. Who knows, you might have some interested parties step in and do much of the work for you.
I would hope so. I think we have enough educators in the community that with a little nudged to coordinate together the combining of the good work they're already doing into a more cohesive plan may well benefit all.
Richard Gaskin
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LiveCode development, training, and consulting services: Fourth World Systems: http://FourthWorld.com
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Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by jacque » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:55 am

I can't continue tribute much to this discussion but I know LC offers an educational discount. You might want to find out more about that and also more about what their previous experiences have been in the education market. They concentrated on it heavily in the past.
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Re: Why do so few schools try LiveCode...?

Post by FourthWorld » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:35 am

Thanks, Jacque. Looks like they're on the Pricing page:
https://livecode.com/products/livecode- ... m/pricing/

Details of the program are here:
https://livecode.com/products/education-packs/

This turned out to be another good exercise in UX research: After I found the program details from the Pricing page, I wondered where the EDU program might be in the main menu taxonomy.

D'oh!

Turns out there's a big "Education" link directly in the main menu at the top of every page.

How did I miss that?

Lesson learned: when evaluating the effectiveness of a site, it helps to look at it. :)
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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