Children First !

On the Squeak general mailing list there was a discussion about Alan Kay’s EuroPython keynote. The thing that really stood out for me was Alan’s comment about children.

Alan Kay | 7 Jul 06:45

“Children First!” means …
… Children First!
(It doesn’t mean Squeak First, or Python or Ruby First.)

Guido Van Rossum is the creator of Python, one of the major programming languages on and off the web, he blogged about the Alan Kay talk. Learn more about Alan Kay, he’s on the OLPC Advisory board, one of the Croquet architects and more.

Those guys have been working in education with children for a long time. I think most of the people that I collaborate with would agree with Alan’s ideas and have learnt a lot from studying Seymour Papert‘s work on learning theory. I especially like how Seymour Papert supported “open source” for the $100 laptop project because the designers wanted an operating system that can be tinkered with. It’s pretty much the same point I’ve been trying to make about libre software in education.

Non-free software prohibits education, non-free software is the opposite of education.
it says you are not allowed to learn because everything inside the software is secret. – Richard Stallman

Its common sense to most programmers. Over the last couple of years I’ve had limited success convincing teachers that use game programming in education to use Squeak and “open source” software.

Are the students from middle class or disadvantaged backgrounds? Constructionism works better for the middle class kids.

What do people think of this?

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