Programming is many things to many people, and not everyone agrees on its potential for human learning. This is especially true at a time when ever younger children are increasingly “expert” gamers, tweeters, information-seekers, and digital “bricoleurs”. Often self-taught, or at least grabbing much of what they know or are interested in) outside the classroom, today’s youngsters indeed surprise—and on occasion surpass us—with their clever uses of all things digital. Question is: how much of this “expertise” is deemed sufficient by experts in the field? This paper looks at programming “obliquely,” as an opportunity to explore issues of agency, control, and interaction styles, as played out in the creative and critical uses of “smart” tools by curious minds.
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