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Re: [xmca] schools-without-computers-by-choice-and-conviction-that-they-dont-help-kids

On Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 6:17 AM, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>wrote:

> I'm familiar with Alan Kay's Squeakland.  I think the entry time (entry
> level) is more significant with Squeakland -- the interface is more
> abstract.  Though this also gives much more depth of expression and
> creation.
> The Squeakland depth seems like a good intermediary between Scratch and
> vanilla smalltalk.  I suspect kids would struggle to get beyond the
> immediate limits of Scratch.  Is there a meta-scratch too for adding their
> own functions?  Though perhaps the idea is that when they know what a
> function they expand into other programming languages?

hi Huw,
Build your own blocks is the meta-scratch: http://byob.berkeley.edu/ I've
only played briefly with BYOB but it has been developed for use at
university and Brian Harvey, co developer, is always good. There is an
educational paper on that site. See Scratch critique below.

I've used etoys/squeak as well as scratch/logo and trialled them both with
students. In my experience students much prefer scratch over etoys. I'm an
Alan Kay fan and love his ideas / creations but I don't think the user
interface for etoys was ever fully developed. There are millions of projects
on the Scratch MIT site. Etoys never scaled in that way. As you pointed out
earlier Scratch is written in smalltalk/squeak so others agree with me that
there was a need for improvement.

Detha Elza's scratch critique:

It also has some pretty severe limitations: no user-defined blocks, no
return values, no file interaction (so no high scores), no network
interaction, no dynamic object creation, the program cannot draw on sprites
(only on the background), no string variables or any real string handling.
It is a great environment for learning to think creatively within its
constraints, but my kids also bump up against its limits pretty quickly.
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