A Computer Culture for Children

In 1966 a group of us created Logo, a programming language for children and other learners. This language gave rise to a learning environment as well as a computer culture. The design of the language went through many iterations; the learning environment expanded to embrace making and programming a variety of physical and virtual objects; and the culture with its mix of learners, teachers and ideas broadened discussions on thinking about thinking.

The enthusiasm of children learning to program computers in school gave way to the realities of the lack of knowledgeable mentors and for a while led to schools embracing the learning of Microsoft Office skills. Today there is a new thrust of activity on making things. It raises questions about building and fostering their environments and cultures. What ideas might be helpful in casting these new spaces to encourage children’s creative spirit is the intention of this talk.