Introducing children and/or school to Squeak

John Steinmetz johns at
Tue May 8 13:06:28 PDT 2001

You'll hear from others about curricula, but I want to suggest that
children under age 11 or so should stay away from computers. There are
various reasons, some physical/neurological, some pedagogical, but for me
the main reason is that young children have very, very important things to
do which cannot be done on a screen. In addition, looking at screens may be
harmful for children's physical and neurological development.

For an excellent review of research on children and computers--and it is
shocking how little research has been done to support the wholesale
adoption of computers by schools--see "Fool's Gold: A Critical Look at
Computers in Childhood," available as a free download or a $14 volume ($12
for multiple copies) from the Alliance for Childhood,,  phone 301-513-1777 or email to
info at

I love Squeak's possibilities for older students and adults. While helping
to develop those possibilites, I mostly keep my own kids, age 5 and 12,
away from the computer.


>I have two sons, ages 7 and 10, who attend a local charter school.  The
>school has a very nice computer lab with both Macintosh and Windows-based
>PCs.  The school currently covers K-5 but in the fall will be expanding to
>include grades 6-8.  The school does use computers in conjunction with the
>curriculum, but the students are pretty much limited to the use of
>HyperStudio to do their work.
>I am very interested in getting Squeak introduced to our school.  I think
>it would offer the students the ability to do far more than
>HyperStudio.  However, I'm not sure how to get the school to look into
>Squeak.  Are there any Squeak-based curriculums available which I could
>demo to the teachers to show how Squeak might be used in a school
>environment?  I know I could show them Squeakland, but I think they would
>want to have some more ideas on how to actually teach and use Squeak.  Even
>if the school doesn't want to use Squeak, I work with a couple of people
>with school age kids who are interested in introducing Squeak to our
>children.  I would be very interested in ideas for projects for kids in the
>7-12 age group and tips on how to introduce Squeak to kids.

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