Child's Play '96: VL '96 Special Event

Second Workshop on End-User Programming and Education, September 3, 1996

held in conjunction with VL'96: 1996 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages September 3-6, 1996 Boulder, Colorado


What is it?

Child's Play '96 is an all-day pre-VL '96 conference workshop bringing together a diverse group of researchers, teachers, and artists, who are actively involved in designing, creating and applying programming environments for end users, especially kids. The workshop will also include a special panel/demo event to be held during the VL conference. We like to stress the hands-on nature of the workshop by giving participants the opportunity to demo their systems and by allocating time to play with all [the other] systems.

At the Child's Play '95 workshop system designers analyzed and compared the computational characteristics of systems including AgentBuilder, Agentsheets, Cartoonist, Chart 'n Art, ChemTrains, KidSim, and ToonTalk. This year we will examine the programming environments more from a user perspective than a system perspective. In what ways do end-users and specifically kids benefit from using any individual system or combination of systems?

Theme: ".. but programming is not on the test"

This year's theme will be the impact of end-user programmable systems on education. How effective are end-user programming approaches as vehicles for learning? Faced with very little evidence of transfer from programming to mathematics or even general problem solving skills, many educators have moved away from the "programming as vehicle to reach mathland" view of computer use. Increasingly, programming environments such as Basic and Logo are put aside and programming/math classes are replaced with classes teaching computer applications such as word processors, and drawing programs. Has programming generally failed as vehicle of creativity or could new programming and teaching approaches avoid this bleak scenario? Participants should make arguments how their approach overcomes some of the following problems:

Specific Goals

Pre Workshop activities

This year the workshop will be only one day. To make this work best we require you to contribute in two ways:

Participation and Deadlines

There is a minimal $50 workshop participation fee to cover hand outs and food. To participate:


Alexander Repenning, University of Colorado

Roland Hubscher, Georgia Institute of Technology

Clayton Lewis, University of Colorado

For more information, contact Alexander Repenning. For an idea of what Child's Play might be about, check out the Web page for Child's Play '95. About Boulder, a place to stay, and how to get to Boulder.