Mitch Resnick will be teaming up with Hal Abelson and Erick Klopfer on the App Inventor project at the new MIT Center for Mobile Learning. This development is great for many reasons, one being that Mitch is an expert on building community and sharing within a development tool.
Mitch’s Scratch system is one of the greatest sharing sites– open source software sites– in the world. Community is built into the very core of the system and sharing is the default behavior. The motto is Imagine. Program. Share. Building something from example is the norm.
Such a scheme is especially important for kids and the non-geeks who inhabit the App Inventor world– its much easier than starting with an empty canvas or an empty text editor. Hell, its really best the way for hard-core geek programmers to work as well.
The current version of App Inventor has no sharing facility: its really a wonder that App Inventor flourished without it. Resnick’s influence will ensure that the community sharing is integrated directly in the workflow.
What’s it all mean? Are kids the only ones who buy into this sharing stuff? Can Resnick get adults to play together as well? I believe the answer is yes. People– kids and adults–love their phones. The lucky ones with tablets are obsessed with those as well. Most have never imagined that they could actually program these devices. App Inventor makes that possible, but it needs a community to foster it. Resnick may be just the guy to turn these phone lovers into the world’s greatest app building collaboratory.
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