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Apple Removes Teaching App From App Store, and Educators Complain

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Apple generally makes news by publishing new apps, not by unpublishing them. But last week, it made some educators upset when it removed an app, Scratch Viewer, from the iTunes App Store.

Scratch Viewer was designed to let educators and others review a child’s work that was created on an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch using the Scratch programming language, which has become popular in many schools.

The Scratch language was created by the M.I.T. Media Lab, and developed with grant support from the National Science Foundation and others. It is available free as a download. The language embodies the work of Seymour Papert and Alan Kay, and using it with children is a way to give them an authentic, non-watered down programming experience. As of Tuesday, the Scratch site contains nearly 1 million (987,877) projects uploaded for public viewing.

Scratch’s popularity in schools may be why viewing these works on a portable device like an iPad may also be popular, and why Scratch Viewer ($3.99) might have a market. The app’s author, John McIntosh of Smalltalk Consulting Ltd. is a Canadian programmer who has no formal affiliation with the M.I.T. lab. In addition, M.I.T. gets no compensation from the sales of the app.

So why did Apple remove it from the store?

From The New York Times
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