Squeak as authoring tool for kids [Was: Re: 3.9 Oddities]

Milan Zimmermann milan.zimmermann at sympatico.ca
Fri Oct 6 03:19:07 UTC 2006

On 2006 September 11 08:11, Andreas Raab wrote:
> J J wrote:
> >> No tut-tut. Remember, we weren't vendors. You have to look at this
> >> (and other decisions) in relation to the big fish we were trying to
> >> fry (which was NOT to build a "free Smalltalk" even though that's what
> >> it unfortunately degenerated to).
> >
> > Are you saying that squeak being open source/free is a bad thing?

> No, I'm saying that we failed to achieve what we were aiming for. Squeak
> being open and free is a very good thing but I'd rather have a media
> authoring tool used by a huge number of kids

Perhaps did not failed too badly! - I wanted to mention there must be some 
number of kids, who do get to playing with Squeak even without school and 
teachers telling them about it. I have some empirical evidence for it :) . A 
son of my friend (and the son's friend, they are about 12) apparently found 
and downloaded Squeak, built projects with it, even put together a few games 
so far. When I asked him if they knew about Squeak because of school, he said 
no, noone in school told them about Squeak. So there is some grassroot 
movement :)

Which brings me to another idea I wanted to mention for a while: While 
steering Squeak as a tool for science and math education, and media 
playground is good, creating games is something most kids will want to do 
"naturally" (maybe that should be something like "current culturally"), and 
interactive games must be a good gateway to Squeak. Yet until recently (last 
year?), there was no easy way for a Morph to be moved by keyboard arrow, 
which is a known and simple, although a bit backwards way of interaction; 
also apart from the (beautiful) car track example there are no other 
"visible" examples kids could use to start writing simple games. I just 
wanted to say, creating interactive games seems a good motivator for children 
to use Squeak.


> than a "free Smalltalk" 
> used by a diminishingly small number of programmers.
> Cheers,
>    - Andreas

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