Yasmin Kafai explored the issue you're describing, Alex, in her dissertation: 
  Yasmin saw students exhibiting both bricoleur and planner characteristics, 
and tried to come up with an explanation for that.

She came to the conclusion that bricoleur vs. planner was not a cognitive style 
(gendered or not), but instead reflected the relationship that the learner had 
with the material being designed.  I think about it in terms of my own personal 
experience in working with a new tool or API.  When I'm trying to understand 
something new (for me, like Ruby or Scala), I need to play with it.  I make up 
lots of little programs, or even just one-liners or expressions, to try out.  I 
look at the results, and then try something new.  I'm a bricoleur.  But when 
I'm working with a known technology, I don't have to "get a feel" for the 
tools.  I can plan in a top-down manner, and can even do much of my planning 
(e.g., writing unit tests) without building anything of significance in the 
tool.  Thus, I may be both a bricoleur or a planner, depending on my 
relationship with the tool or the domain.


On 3/26/10 7:39 AM, "alex" <a...@slab.org> wrote:

On 23 March 2010 14:12, Steven Clarke <steven.cla...@microsoft.com> wrote:
> I've always found the following essay quite inspirational in the way that it 
> describes two different styles of programming.
> http://www.papert.org/articles/EpistemologicalPluralism.html

Thank you Steven for this link in particular, I've been enjoying
Turkle's book "The second self" but wasn't aware of this paper.  It's
interesting in relation to the discussion of anthropomorphism and
metaphor that came up in an earlier thread here.  It also grounds the
thoughts on the cognitive process of programming that I started this
thread with.  I'm not sure though if I buy the masculine/feminine
angle entirely, I think a good programmer should be able to jump
between both planning and bricolage styles of programming.  Tying it
to sexuality seems to make this an issue of style of programmer rather
than style of programming.

I think it's worth noting that different professions define
`creativity' very differently.  Within the arts all activity is deemed
creative.  In the advertising industry `creative' seems to be a job
description rather than an activity.  In the sciences creativity is
something more specific, indicating some or all of novelty, value,
broken conventions and surprise.  For this discussion I think the
latter definition is more useful, and of course applies to activity in
the arts and industry as well.



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