it seems that there are plenty of multimedia based environments for helping those precious, allegedly incapable of Java programming, kiddies to write some code. I just found out about Scratch and BYOB. I already knew about Alice and Lego/Karel. Then there is this whole page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Educational_programming_languages where at least a few languages probably fall into the same category.
In any event, isn’t it sort of strange that so much effort (and money, given that at least in MIT Media Lab they are not hacking this stuff for free) is being put into teaching trivial stuff to people majority of whom will take it no further, while no apparent research goes into the more obviously useful task of teaching real software engineering to college kids and similar professionals? I mean, it’s not like the way even basic programming is taught right now results in excellent proficiency rate in graduates of less than stellar ability, to say nothing of teaching people not just to write something that works but also that are easy to maintain and is not dailywtf ugly crud. There are all sorts of levels on which software engineering could be taught according to ever improving teaching techniques - so how come the only level that seems to get funding and effort now is the one that is the most useless and irrelevant to the real needs of the industry?