[Squeakland] Can EToys Teach Me How to Program in Squeak?

Alan Kay alan.kay at squeakland.org
Fri Jul 7 06:14:45 PDT 2006

Hi Greg --

Please tell me more about your aspirations. There are a number of styles of 
programming, and there are a number of programming languages, each of which 
addresses one or more styles.

Squeak Etoys is a style that we made up based on 35 years of experience 
working with children. We have had very good results with 8-12 year olds 
over the last 10 years, and this has accounted for its spread around the 
world. If you did a few things in Etoys, you would be (a) programming, and 
(b) get some of the feel of being able to make dynamic constructions via 
programming (c) be learning a few things that would transfer to other 
programming languages (the overlap is not large though).

I strongly suggest that you get the book "Powerful Ideas in the Classroom" 
by B-J Allen-Conn and Kim Rose (available through the website or at 
Amazon). This plus other materials on the website should help get you launched.

Squeak is an open source version of the Xerox PARC Smalltalk (from the late 
70s) that we made as a general tool for constructing large scale designs. 
It is very powerful, but the introductions are certainly more geeky than 
you might like.



At 05:07 PM 7/6/2006, Greg Smith wrote:
>I am entering the field of programming having no prior experience.
>I'm not a kid, age-wise, anyway.  It seems every programming language
>I have encountered makes assumptions about my prior knowledge, (that
>I have some), and the teachers of these languages use strange and
>alien terminology to describe actions that I am already unfamiliar
>with.  The teachers, (online tutorial writers), use terminology that
>is familiar to themselves to explain new concepts, but is unfamiliar
>and vague to me.
>For these reasons I am looking toward using the EToys, children's
>software, as a means to obtain a total introduction to programming,
>in general, and to Squeak, specifically.  Is this the self-education
>route I should take, or is there a better "adult" pathway for learning?
>I actually wish that EToys was introduced and structured so that it
>specifically was aimed at teaching me to program rather than to teach
>me Mathematics and Science.  But maybe it will do both.
>Please let me know,
>Greg Smith
>Squeakland mailing list
>Squeakland at squeakland.org

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