alan.kay at squeakland.org
Wed Dec 22 15:26:42 UTC 2004
I strongly suggest that you get "Powerful Ideas in the Classroom" (by Kim
Rose and BJ Allen-Conn) which can be found at the Squeakland site. Also,
getting on the Squeakland list will help.
At 07:40 PM 12/21/2004, Blake wrote:
>So, I'm using eToys to teach a nine-year-old to program. He's enjoying the
>painting and playing with morphs, which is good. I think he'll like the
>actual programming, too, when we get to it. But I have noticed a few
What system are you using?
>1. The icons in the tutorials don't show up correctly (i.e., not lined up
>where they should be)
>2. It's easy for him to do something he shouldn't (in the sense of getting
>into a place he might have trouble getting out of). So far, though, it's
>been easy for him to get back, which is good.
>3. Every now and again during painting, the desktop would "lock up". It
>seemed to enter some sort of modality which neither of us could tell what
>it was for or how to get out of it, short of exiting the painting mode
Please be more specific. Many thousands of children and other people have
used Etoys and we have never heard of this one.
>Not perfect, but not bad. A damn sight better than the other options, I
>think. My main concern now is keeping him moving forward. Especially since
>I find the eToys environment rather cumbersome. (I confess to cheating at
>first and opening a code window to directly edit routines rather than try
>to figure out what needs to be clicked-and/or-dragged, but I'm avoiding
>I'm trying to construct a simple Lunar Lander game which, I hope, will be
>instructive about gravity as well as programming. However, I've hit some
Look at the "Powerful ideas" book. Understanding of gravity comes from
actual scientific investigation, not opinion. If you make the model and
tell your kid that "this is the way the world works", you are not helping
much, just making the kinds of claims most adults make. It is quite easy to
actually find out what gravity does near the surface of the earth and model
it (many 5th graders have done this successfully, so why not you?).
Then Lunar Lander is easy.
>4. I've drawn a "lunar terrain" morph as an outline and was thinking about
>filling it in. However, when I click the repaint halo button, the canvas
>that comes up is wider than the terrain, which is squashed. This happens
>consistently. If I paint something that takes the full horizontal width of
>the canvas, and then repaint, it won't take the whole width any more.
First we've heard of this one ...
>5. When you pull out an assignment tile by clicking on the <-, when it
>goes into a script viewer, the <- becomes an underscore. Have I got font
>problems or is this a bug?
Font problems. What system are you using? Why not just get the download
from the Squeakland site?
>6. It's cool that eToys tells you when you try to remove a variable that's
>in use; an "undo" would also be nice.
>7. Trying to use the "remove [item]" menu option on a variable brings up a
>debug window. Since the Squeakland stuff doesn't have this problem, this
>(and others) may be the result of my image (which is probably overloaded
>with squeak packages).
Well, just use the Squeakland stuff.
>8. Is there any eToy keyboard handler/script? Lunar Lander's a bit awkward
>with a mouse.
There is, but why not use the etoy joystick, it's even nicer than the
keyboard. Look for it in supplies.
>9. How hard is it to make new tiles for eToy use? What's the base class?
Not as easy as it should be, but very doable.
Sometime this year many improvements (some qualitative) will show up.
>Thanks for any and all feedback.
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