"Does the computer program the child or the child program the computer?"
I believe this quote is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. There's always been a tension or a shifting of balance between creating and creation. When I was a student in the 1980s, computer programming was quite difficult for me, and probably others as well, and it was definitely not as graphical or intuitive as today. And because personal computing was in its infancy, primarily experts/ professionals created most of the programs that the average consumer used. Any amateur programs were probably relegated to school computer labs or bedrooms. Therefore, in the past the computer did program the child, for the most part.
Nowadays, with the maker movement is full force, it is definitely easier for the child to be the master or programmer of the computer. This coincides with technology as a whole democratizing many activities, from making movies (iMovie, YouTube), to music (Garage Band), and even creating objects (3-D printer), and delivering them to a worldwide audience. The same holds true for programming with languages like Scratch and Hopscotch, students can create their own apps and games.
Now the only issue is that everyone is in on the game. There are about one and a half million apps in both the Android and Apple play stores. I guess the playing field has been leveled, but it's now tougher to stand out in a crowd, because everyone is clamoring to be noticed. I wonder if this will begin to be a deterrent for those who want to create, or simply a challenge to be the cream that rises to to the top. Time will tell.
Daniel H. Lee
This blog will be dedicated to sharing in three areas: happenings in my classroom and school; analysis and distillation of other educators' wealth of knowledge in various texts; insights from other disciplines and areas of expertise that relate and connect with educational practices.