[Squeakland] Scalability and the HyperCard stages

MarkSundberg Architect at hawaii.rr.com
Wed Aug 13 15:55:59 PDT 2003

I feel this discussion is really critical to future acceptance and use
of Squeak as a viable alternative to other environments. To make Squeak
become more than an interesting footnote in computing history or simply
a wonderland for driven programmers/developers, its got to become
accessible to non-technical types: children, school kids, teachers,
business people, administrators. How many teachers are going to push for
its use if they don't know how to use it? How many parents are going to
expose their kids to it and demand its use in schools if they don't have
a clue about it? Yes, no matter what, you are going to get the odd lot
here and there that are deeply interested and will make the time out of
their already overtaxed schedules to learn Squeak and want to promote it
and there's going to be those that are inspired by demonstrations by
Alan Kay and others. But that's still virtually nil, we are talking in
terms of thousands when what's needed are tens or hundreds of thousands
and even millions. 
The concept listed for HyperCard (I have no experience with it) sounds
really excellent and would seem to fit in with the idea of a Squeak that
grows with the user. Something easy to get into initially, as are the
E-Toys (but that isn't going to appeal to many adults) that doesn't
require much in the way of programming but still allows tangible
results. In my experience people really like to learn and more so when
there is a reward for learning. When its something they can readily
grasp not only how to do it but why. When they can see the reward
waiting for them and at least parts of the route to getting to it. Then
they will learn to take more chances and have faith the leap won't drop
them in a great abyss. Eventually, they can learn that great lesson,
that there really isn't any great abyss for them to fall into. That they
can define the parameters of their own journeys and even those of the
destination they seek. 
The concept that users can be lured into learning by the offer of
greater ability or even greater coolness is not one to ignore. Nothing
is likely to have so much success as those lures. Its always easier to
pull something than push it. Its even easier to provide handholds and
let it pull itself along. 
Mark Sundberg, a Squeaky Wheel. 
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