BASIC was designed for students

I’m not sure when I put this article about CS education reform into my Instapaper, but I learned something new:

In the early 1960s, the professors John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz developed BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) at Dartmouth College because they thought educated people, and future leaders of America, should have some first-hand experience with computing.

I like this precedent of developing tools for students first, and business markets later. Focusing on students (and particularly “100-level” classes) is a great motivation to keep things simple and easy to learn. When/if the technology eventually gets powerful enough to compete with other tools, it will win because real people might actually want to use it.

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