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

hi Huw,

There was a discussion comparing Scratch with Etoys, including a great
evaluation by alan kay on the "its an education project" list (devoted to
one laptop per child software) recently:
use previous and next to see more of the discussion - it goes on for a while
and most of it is excellent (but hard to see it all in the archive)

I suspect that the jerome bruner / alan kay slogan of "doing with images to
make symbols" on the one hand and the various incomplete efforts to
implement this idea in software on the other hand goes to the heart of how
computers ought to be used in education. Also Papert's idea of "objects to
think with". Alan Kay addresses these issues fairly directly and in an
exciting way, for me.

Just saw your comment about bugs. I agree. My comment was about beginners
bugs, simple syntax errors, not logic bugs.

On Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 8:32 PM, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>wrote:

> 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.  :)
> Thanks,
> Huw
> > 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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