Heya Emma, All.
Given the "Vibe" (shall we say) on twitter and the (Surprising to me, I have to say) responses from some, I do think that this happening raises an interesting question that we should probably discuss. I'm not sure this list is the place to do it, but this is where it started..
First off.. this is *Entirely* my own opinion, and not representative of anyone I work for or with.
@proactivepaul is, in my experience, a great chap with a genuine interest in providing opportunities for kids to learn to code. I've met him at several events here in sheffield and at barcamps around the country. We've been running (You're about to see my problem, and my point) "Kids Coding" sessions in sheffield for a very long time now. They pre-date #KidsCoding and Mr Schmidts talk by at least a year. Paul and his son attended a number of these. They actively engaged with both practical acitvities, and the wider discussion about the problems particularly with the teaching of ICT in schools, and how we can help address that by exposing kids to coding.
Then there was #KidsCoding, which was incredibly well marketed, and got real traction as a hashtag and a "movement" as much as anything else.
My point in all this is that Pauls effort and involvement with trying to teach kids to code predates KidsCoding as a "Brand". The problem here is that the "brand" has become synonymous with the problem we are trying to address (Like Hoover & Vacuum Cleaner). I think this is probably by your design and encouragement as much as anything else. Getting existing activity to start using your hashtag and term is a great way to build community and momentum. But it was done with an "Open" intent, and worked to gather all activity together under a single umbrella. Great Stuff!
I have to say I completely take my hat off to Paul on this. Instead of trying to extract money from funding bodies he's tried to cut directly to a sustainable model. You can complain about it being "Commercial" but ultimately, it doesn't seem that different to the way RS work to me. He's taken his own path to trying to address the problem whilst paying his rent too. I honestly believe that Pauls heart is at least as much in the right place as RS's is.
Having tried to work with RS and nominent on the kids coding agenda, and being burned, I do think it's time for a clear definition about the brand and the term #KidsCoding. I think it's existed in a strange space between commercial brand and open movement for a long while and this just highlights that it's not clear to people what your expectations are. A CC non-commercial at least alerts people to the notion that you are looking to commercialise this yourselves and they should not use it.
Ultimately, I honestly believe Paul is trying to contribute to addressing the same issue we are all concerned about. I'm surprised (And disappointed) by this reaction. Any resource we can use in this problem space seems like a good one.
It's interesting that with a copy of the book in hand, the first criticism is of the name and the branding.. What's the content like? That seems like a much more interesting question to ask!!