Programming | News

Easy Programming Language Gains High School Pickup

A company that sells a software development platform for non-coders--including students--is turning to project funding source KickStarter to generate the funds it needs to convert its code to open source. LiveCode, from Edinburgh, Scotland-based RunRev, allows a user to create applications by dragging components onto a canvas, scripting the application by attaching objects, and using English-language to define activities. Once the code is created, the company said, the program can be run on desktops, mobile devices, and servers running MacOS X, iOS, Android, Linux, and Windows. Company founder Kevin Miller said he was inspired to create the successor to HyperCard, which was his first programming tool before it was discontinued by Apple

The program is popular in K-12 computer classes because it requires no real programming background. For example, Cyril Pruszko, a science teacher at Prince George's County Public Schools is using LiveCode with his ninth graders in a daily computer class. According to Pruszko, after starting the students on "conventional" programs--Hello World and figuring out the area of a rectangle--he teaches them about how to create moving players, use graphics, detect collisions, and other activities they need to turn in a maze game by the end of the week. In four to six weeks, he reported, the students create a live action game with at least three levels of play, a splash screen, and instructions, and, he added, "it has to be fun, challenging, and playable."

LiveCode has also gained popularity in schools in Scotland. According to Steven Whyte: a computer teacher at Gracemount High in Edinburgh, "Since using LiveCode, we've seen a huge increase in the uptake in the number of pupils wanting to take computing."

So far, the company has generated £290,769 from 1,718 backers, with 57 hours to go to raise another £60,000. If the full amount isn't raised, the company can retry it with a different monetary goal.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.