[Squeakland] EToys Experience Report

Erik Nauman ENauman at HewittSchool.org
Thu Mar 24 11:07:06 PST 2005

Point well taken. I'm glad you bring the discussion around to the
importance of collaboration because I've had students collaborate in
other situations with great results but in teaching with Squeak I
realize I've pulled back and figured I could save the students a lot of
frustration with a new tool by guiding them through solutions rather
than setting it up so they could find their own way through. Thanks for
the perspective!
Erik Nauman
The Hewitt School

-----Original Message-----
From: squeakland-bounces at squeakland.org
[mailto:squeakland-bounces at squeakland.org] On Behalf Of Mark Kesling
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2005 2:52 PM
To: squeakland at squeakland.org
Subject: Re: [Squeakland] EToys Experience Report

Ok! I will wade in on this one. Erik, I have been working with 3rd and 
4th graders in at Orchard School in Indianapolis with Squeak for the 
past 6 months and have some thoughts for you.

First, I think you are stuck by a more traditional definition of a 
teacher's role in the instruction of students when using technology and 
especially Squeak. I have found that neither I nor the children really 
need much in the way of tutorials when we approach solving problems 
together interactively with Squeak. Kim's book is very helpful but not 
essential. Try to look at this less about teaching programming and use 
it more as a problem solving tool for a variety of situations in 
science and mathematics. My students have created some amazing 
solutions to "child" problems in science and math using the software.

I actually know very little about squeak and find that I am better at 
providing science and math problems (which can come from a traditional 
currcululum) to solve and then letting teams of children work through 
the solution. Which goes to the heart of my second point which is 
allowing them to work collaboratively at first to learn Squeak.

Finally, my approach with my 120 3rd and 4th graders must be correct 
since, via word of mouth between students and parents, the entire 
middle school, grades 5 through 8, now want me to teach Squeak to them. 
I have begun that process with the 6th grade and have found that 
children have an amazing capacity to solve their own problems, even 
those that require discovery. Personally, I hope we never get too slick 
with the projects and documentation that we lose this wonderful element 
of discovery and invention. I believe the entire premise behind etoys 
was allowing children to create their own knowledge and for teachers to 
guide and facilitate this process rather than directly instruct 

I hope this helps.


On Mar 23, 2005, at 8:51 AM, Erik Nauman wrote:

> I think the ideal would be something like your list below but a little
> more fleshed out for the classroom teacher audience. With more ideas
> accompanied with the specific "how tos" it would be less
> for teachers, even those with plenty of tech (but minimal programming)
> experience like myself, to go beyond the few tutorials offered on
> squeakland. With more scaffolding more teachers would be able to push
> their students beyond simple variations of the basics like your son
> experienced at school. Another issue for me is that I tend to shy away
> from using tutorials with my students (5-7th grade) because I want
> to be able to use their object-oriented experience to process content
> they are learning in other disciplines. So I have to come up with the
> content and "how to" myself. If you could post your own projects and
> solutions to squeakland I think it would be invaluable, even the 
> complex
> projects you're working on as I think the squeak community is 
> enormously
> varied in programming experience.
> My question is can the current procedure on squeakland for submitting
> and posting projects on the kids play section of the site include
> accompanying tutorials? I think this would help lower the grade of the
> squeak learning curve for all users.
> Thanks,
> Erik Nauman
> Middle School Technology Coordinator
> The Hewitt School
> 212-994-2610
> -----Original Message-----
> From: squeakland-bounces at squeakland.org
> [mailto:squeakland-bounces at squeakland.org] On Behalf Of Kevin Lawrence
> Sent: Tuesday, March 22, 2005 7:46 PM
> To: squeakland at squeakland.org
> Subject: [Squeakland] EToys Experience Report
> Something like this
> 1. Drive a Car around a track
>    HINT : follow the excellent tutorial
> 2. Salmon navigation
>    HINT : draw the river as a gradient
>    HINT : Watch the saturationUnder as you move your salmon around the
> river
>    HINT : store the previous saturation in a variable
> 3. Bouncing Basketballs
>    HINT : add the acceleration to the forwardBy every tick
> .....
> 14. Star-eating Snake
>    HINT : Use the 'copy' message to gorw an extra body segment
> ...
> 27. Prisoner's Dilemma
>    HINT : Store the history in a linked list
> .....
> 38. Kepler's Law
>    HINT : Think of a player as a vector
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