I have started a bit of an experiment this month: I am trying to teach basic programming and software engineering to women that more closely identify as artists than coders. I have a number of motivations for attempting this.
- A small amount of motivation comes from attending workshops where the instructor doesn’t entirely understand the tech they are dealing with. I think coding is a craft and new digital media art is a new form of craft. If you work with other traditional media such as clay or oil painting, you are expected to understand the material (to a reasonable level). The same should be true with technology.
- People seem eager for this kind of instruction.
- I think there are some problems with the way we teach programming to CS students, this is a way for me to test some more experimental practices.
One thing I do struggle with is that tools that help attract new practitioners by working out of the box and being ready to go (Processing, OpenFrameworks), can encourage bad habits. I think by excessively hiding the details of software, you restrict the ability for someone to learn about those details. I haven’t entirely formalized my irritations nor come up with solutions. Well, I guess my initial solution is to teach the course I am teaching right now and try to bring more traditional programming instruction to non-traditional forums.
Below are the slides (with some corrections and additions) that I used last night.