An anonymous reader passed us a link to an article on the Boston Globe's website, talking up efforts by MIT to make programming a non-threatening part of grade-school education
. MIT has developed a new programming language designed to encourage experimentation and play. Called Scratch
, the project eschews manuals and high-level concepts in favour of approachability. "Efforts to make computer programming accessible to young people began in the late 1970s with the advent of the personal PC, when another programming language with roots at MIT — Logo — allowed young people to draw shapes by steering a turtle around a screen by typing out commands. But the path to mastering most programming languages has been strewn with obstacles, since students needed to figure out not only the underlying logic but also master a brand new syntax, observe strict rules about semicolons and bracket use, and figure out what was causing error messages even as they learned the program."