August 18, 2013
I have posted a new learning-to-program sandbox at turtlebits.net. It is designed as a modernized "LOGO" friendly for beginning programmers. For example, as a first program you can write simply "fd 100".
As with LOGO in 1967, the goal of TurtleBits in 2013 is No Threshold, No Limit, which means that it is easy enough for kindergarten kids, and yet it scales all the way to professional-level software experimentation and development. The language is Coffeescript plus jQuery plus jquery-turtle, and it runs in any modern browser (Chrome, Firefox, IE10)....
Making Coffeescript Useful for Educators
Here is the background. Coffeescript is almost the ideal learning language. It enjoys:
However, a few additional things are needed for teachers...
I think these gaps can be filled, and so I have been working on several of these pieces.
An Open-Source Library
For the turtle bits, here is an open-source library jquery-turtle (it is a jquery extension). jQuery itself solves most of the difficult usability issues with the standard HTML DOM API, but it does not simplify some of the newer web standards that are relevant to beginners. jQuery-turtle provides turtle access to the canvas API and CSS 2d transforms, as well as simplified access to Web Audio. Turtle animation helps illustrate the progress of programs over time, and the animation integrates nicely with the jQuery fx queue.
An Public Website For Sharing
A Textbook (Being Written)
For the curriculum, I am working on a textbook (ah yes, big promises, but I'm really writing one). The draft goes all the way from the first turtle line to advanced computer science topics like sorting and basic AI, so certainly other books that don't move so quickly will also be needed. That's still work in progress.
For community - well, I'm not sure where to start. Any suggestions?
Anybody interested in helping?Posted by David at August 18, 2013 07:29 AM
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