“Learnable Programming” and Code Year

Thanks to colleague Keith Smilely for passing along this essay by Bret Victor (@worrydream): Learnable Programming: Designing a programming system for understanding programs

In the essay, Victor really nails the shortcomings of platforms like Codecademy and Khan Academy.

Programming is a way of thinking, not a rote skill. Learning about “for” loops is not learning to program, any more than learning about pencils is learning to draw.

People understand what they can see. If a programmer cannot see what a program is doing, she can’t understand it.

If you are part of the Learn Code community or someone using these platforms, go read this essay!

As users on these platforms, we’ve all felt the frustrations Victor describes and many of us thought it was our shortcomings. “Maybe I’m not smart enough to get programming,” I’ve thought to myself. But, thanks to my LCFJWM cohort, I know that is not the case.

In fact, these platform shortcomings are the main reason I’m trying to create Phase 2 of this project.

Again, these are great platforms to understand terms, get the basics of the concepts… but we need something more. And, as journalists, we need specific and relevant projects. There are many folks, besides LCFJWM, working on this… so stay tuned!

02. October 2012 by Robert Hernandez
Categories: News, Personal | Tags: , , , | 1 comment

One Comment

  1. Found this today! This post inspired me to comment and recommend Zed Shaw’s “Learn Python the Hard Way.” It is not an interactive learning tool — it is only a free online book. I saw it recommended by Brian Boyer, and as soon as I started (with Exercise 0), I was hooked.

    I would suggest that if you want to really _understand_ programming, try Zed’s book:


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