ABSTRACT

When thinking about designing programming languages for children we must think first about the kinds of experiences we want them to have. Within the playground approach, the authors are concerned with promoting positive youth development, and not only with improving problem solving and mastering the art of coding. This chapter presents several dimensions to guide the design of positive youth experiences in the digital landscape: developmental milestones, curriculum connections, technological infrastructure, mentoring model, diversity, communities of users, design process, access environment, and institutional context. Designing a programming language for young children is a major endeavor. Similarly, financial sustainability is essential not only to launch the program, but also to update it and fix bugs. Although it is important to design developmentally appropriate tools for early education, it is also important to understand that the learning of coding and the development of computational thinking happen in the context of an overall curricular experience.