An exploration into screen-less programming languages for teaching children programming, explaining the complexities of weaving, and livecoding performances. Recently featured on the Adafruit blog, Flotsam is a flexible prototype made out of driftwood for figuring out what this sort of programming could be, based on a Raspberry Pi, and is designed to solve problems such as:

  • How can we use 3000 years of weaving technology to inspire programming practice and highlight the computation present in weaving?
  • A difficulty with teaching kids programming in my CodeClub where they become lost ‘in the screen’. It’s a challenge (for any of us really but for children particularly) to disengage and think differently – e.g. to draw a diagram to work something out or work as part of a team.
  • A problem with performing livecoding where a screen represents a spectacle, or even worse – a ‘school blackboard’ that as an audience we expect ourselves to have to understand.

Flotsam is part of the AHRC research project codingweaves/weavingcodes and all code and hardware is open source and can be found here.