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I am putting together a curriculum to help encourage students that speak Chinese to view programming not as a formula, but an art/skill. The problem is that the traditional ways of teaching emphasize syntax without encouraging exploration, self-discovery, and fun. (Honestly, if I had been taught programming the way they're teaching it, I would've died.)

I love UCBLogo and the corresponding book written by Brian Harvey. Unfortunately, UCBLogo doesn't support Unicode and the text is very English-centric; I don't have the time right now to recompile the source for Windows and Mac so that it is Unicode friendly, so I'm looking at other solutions.

The ideal programming stack would have these characteristics (UCBLogo has all these):

  • REPL interface
  • A GUI response area where students can see immediate results (this is where Logo shines)
  • Cross-platform interpreters (all my students have Windows machines, I don't)

In addition it needs to have this (UCBLogo doesn't have this):

  • Unicode support

I'm not committed to Logo. I'm happy to do Javascript, Python, or anything else. The problem with Javascript is that doing it in the browser is painful; the text is too small for students and the JS development tools use "auto-complete" to "help" the developer. This often messes up the workflow when trying to input Chinese characters. Python is an option but doesn't have that GUI response that I'm hoping for.

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iPython does have:

  • the immediate responce to the point where you can execute each cell and see the results even graphs, etc. when running in a notebook. Not quite results as you type but near.
  • Unicode is native
  • Cross Platform

Be sure and read up on the various magic commands.

  • Thanks! I'm checking this out now! Looks very interesting. – Avery Jun 19 '15 at 7:39

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