Yasmin Kafai explored the issue you're describing, Alex, in her dissertation: http://www.amazon.com/Minds-Play-Computer-Childrens-Learning/dp/0805815139/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1269897242&sr=1-4 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. Mark 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. alex -- http://yaxu.org/ -- The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302).