blake at kingdomrpg.com
Thu Dec 23 06:47:30 UTC 2004
On Wed, 22 Dec 2004 07:26:42 -0800, Alan Kay <alan.kay at squeakland.org>
> 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.
OK. I wish I could see the table of contents.
> Also, getting on the Squeakland list will help.
I am on the list, at least in theory. I receive it, but my letters to it
never show up.
> 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
>> 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?
I'm now up-to-date.
>> 1. The icons in the tutorials don't show up correctly (i.e., not lined
>> up where they should be)
> More specifics?
All of the tutorials contain little glyphs in imitation of the buttons
used in Etoys. None of them appear where they should. This is in all the
tutorials found here
. Specifically, the painting and handles tutorial; the car tutorial is set
up differently, but the arrows don't quite connect to the boxes or point
to the right places exactly (I can see them in the mini-version and that's
not how they look when I open the project up).
>> 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.
> Such as?
Initially he would unintentionally close the flaps he needed. I used a
full image initially, and he pulled up the system menus more than once.
Later, the painting problem described below.
>> 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
>> 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.
Looking back, it was kind of like the transparent "skin" had grown to
occupy the the whole desktop, covering everything and making it
unclickable (except the paint palette), specifically the navigation
palette. I'm not 100% sure how he did it. With any luck at all, it won't
be repeatable in the Squeakland version.
>> 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
> Look at the "Powerful ideas" book. Understanding of gravity comes from
> actual scientific investigation, not opinion.
We don't do much opinion here. I once got into a knock-down drag-out
argument with someone who insisted it was important children be
indoctrinated into socially accepted viewpoints, where I maintained that
you give children facts and let them form their own opinions. "What if
they come up with the wrong opinions?" was her concern.
Indeed, most everyone's concerns are centered around conformity, and it
must be admitted, my children hold very "incorrect" opinions on a wide
variety of topics. If there's a serious problem with this, it's only in
getting them to understand that a lot of adults walk around with
completely unsupported and preposterous ideas, and it's neither polite
(nor fruitful) to try to correct them.
> 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?).
You misunderstand. I'm doing it so I can later lead him through it. When
we're both a little more comfortable and I'm confident we're not going to
break anything, then we can discover the processes together.
Anyway, it's easy to run through Galilleo's experiment. We can test, we
can measure, we can (and do) experiment all day long.
The only new ground is creating the simulation of gravity. And, in fact,
learning about gravity is incidental, as far as my son's concerned. (We
will, however, be learning about the precise formula and the gravitational
constant, etc., because that will make our simulation more "realistic".
We'll also play with atmospheric density, wind, and other things.)
> Then Lunar Lander is easy.
Well, the on-site Lunar Lander =is= relatively easy. It goes
straight-up-and-down. I know my main struggle is going to be keeping up
with my son's ambition.
Which brings up the question of when Etoys is going to be coming to
>> 4. I've drawn a "lunar terrain" morph as an outline and was thinking
>> 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
>> the canvas, and then repaint, it won't take the whole width any more.
> First we've heard of this one ...
I'm having this problem frequently but inconsistently, along with some
others that seem to be repaint related, such as the repaint making an
invisible copy (at the top of the screen) and being unable to throw the
morphic out by picking it up and putting it in the trash can. This is all
in the last 15 minutes using the latest Squeakland release. I'll do what I
can to nail down the specific actions that cause the problems.
>> 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?
I did, and it's fixed. If I hadn't been following the squeak-dev list,
though, it probably wouldn't have occurred to me that Squeak and
Squeakland releases are different.
>> 8. Is there any eToy keyboard handler/script? Lunar Lander's a bit
>> with a mouse.
> There is, but why not use the etoy joystick, it's even nicer than the
> keyboard. Look for it in supplies.
The joystick won't quite cut it. The main thrusters operate on a single
axis, need to be set to some degree and stay set until changed, like a
slider. The rotational thrusters are only active when held down, more like
buttons. It would be awkward to have them combined in a single joystick,
and even more awkward to require them to use different controls to perform
both tasks with the joystick.
>> 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.
'preciate all the hard work, Alan & Co.
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