Getting feedback on Teaspoon Languages from CS educators and researchers at the Raspberry Pi Foundation seminar series

June 14, 2022 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

In May, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak at the Raspberry Pi Foundation Seminar series. I’ve attended some of these seminars before. I highly recommend them (see past seminars here). It’s a terrific format. The speaker presents for up to a half hour, then everyone gets put into a breakout room for small group discussions. The participants and speaker come back for 30-35 minutes of intensive Q&A — at least, it feels “intensive” from the speaker’s perspective. The questions you get have been vetted through the breakout room process. They’re insightful, and sometimes critical, but always in a constructive way. I was excited about this opportunity because I wanted to make it a hands-on session where the CS teachers and researchers who attended might actually use some Teaspoon Languages and give me feedback on them. I have rarely had the opportunity to work with CS teachers, so I was excited for the opportunity.

Sue Sentance wrote up a very nice blog post describing my talk (thank you!) — see here. The video of the talk and discussion is available. You can watch the whole thing, or, you can read the blog post then skip ahead to where the conversation takes place (around 26:00 in the video). If you have been wondering, “Why isn’t Mark just using Logo, Scratch, Snap, or NetLogo? We already have great tools! Why invent new languages that are clearly less powerful than what we already have?”, then you should jump to 34:38 and see Ken Kahn (inventor of ToonTalk) push me on this point.

The whole experience was terrific for me, and I hope that it’s valuable for the viewer and attendees as well. The questions and comments indicated understanding and appreciation for what I’m trying to do, and the concerns and criticisms are valuable input for me and my team. Thanks to Sue, Diana Kirby, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and all the attendees!

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