John Maloney

Computer scientist and creator of programming systems for beginners

Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA)

April 30 to May 13, 2019

Biography —

John Maloney is best known for co-creating Scratch, a blocks programming language for beginners used by 39 million children around the world. Scratch grew out of Squeak and Etoys, which John helped create while working for Dr. Alan Kay at Apple and Disney. Before that, John worked on Self, a little-known programming language that was the inspiration for Javascript.

John enjoys working with musicians, artists, and designers. He spent a year in Roger Danneberg’s group at CMU, working with musicians to create tools for musical performance and accompaniment. Later, at Walt Disney Imagineering, John worked with artists and designers to create and test a number of installations for Disney theme parks.

MicroBlocks (http://microblocks.fun), John’s current project, aims to make programming physical devices like the BBC micro:bit as easy as programming in Scratch.

John enjoys playing the dulcian, the Renaissance ancestor of the bassoon.

Project —

MicroBlocks debuted at the Robolot conference last year. Since then, it has been used by hundreds of children in Catalonia and around the world. Educators are often amazed at how quickly children became confident and proficient using MicroBlocks.

However, MicroBlocks is far from finished. It can be made easier to use, easier to deploy, and more versatile. The Faber Residency will allow the team to work together on specific projects, such as Internet of Things support. More important, it will allow us to develop a shared vision for getting MicroBlocks out to a larger audience around the world.