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

hi Huw,

Hi Bill,

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.

Thanks for the info.

> 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.

No, I agree.  The smalltalk project was conceived as a continual
work-in-progress, which I think applies to etoys too.

The main thing I do value in squeakland/etoys is programming/building
without fundamental constraints by the interface.

As a learning environment, I think programming a robot toy to move around
would be, initially, more satisfying than a sprite on a screen.  The sprite
on a screen entails knowing about a computer and its additional
complexities.  Its easy to forget this especially when using normal
descriptive language.  To talk about the sprites as being an object, but
that only behave as objects within the context of the environment, is
necessarily sophisticated and symbolic.

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.
Yes.  A large community helps in many ways.  :)


> 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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