[Squeakland] Can EToys Teach Me How to Program in Squeak?
Offray Vladimir Luna Cárdenas
offray.luna at javeriana.edu.co
Fri Jul 7 07:03:52 PDT 2006
I have used Squeak for teaching introductory programming to university
students in a open course in the Science Faculty in the Javeriana
University. In this course we work with students of different semesters
and disciplines and Squeak was a nice solution to the problems that we
face in the transition for a close course for only Informatics
("computer science") students to an open one. Previously we have tried
Scheme and Python with good results, but in a more open environment like
this one, squeak works better for us.
This was the route we following (most of the students has no prior
programming experience or vocabulary).
* We start with some context and background information about Squeak
history. In my own experience, knowing the history, the "whys", lets you
know more motivated about the language itself and its "what for"s
* We continue with the World metaphor, just seing quickly how this works.
* Then we create a presentation over any theme the students choose using
the bookmorph. That was nice because in established "continuity"
between the rest of the world and the classroom. Students could see how
Squeak could help them with the activities they are already doing with
computers in some different way, giving them added value at the same
time we some concepts about aggregation, inheritance and encapsulation
in this activity, in that way we're not having and split between
concepts and their everyday application. Some of the students start to
use Squeak to make living presentations in other classes with pretty
good results (their teachers only knew Power Point, so that
presentations of my students were visually appealing over the ones of
their classmates and even their teachers).
* After that we start with small scripts which just change the behavior
of few object and they start to enjoy "Drag & Drop Programming" in
squeak, they understand the basic concepts, can use them, but they're
not afraid of the code.
* Then we go for a more difficult task reproducing their first Etoy,
with the game of addings, again the idea is to see what others create
with squeak and then they make their own Etoy. In this, they start to
see how the code works behind scenes and we start with grammar and
syntax of Squeak, starting to show how elegantly smalltalk implements
the ideas of OOP with its easy to understand syntax and the idea of
Object + Messages.
Because this was a preliminary experience, finding the path takes time
and that's where we come this time, in the next semester I hope to see
some active essays also and more syntax.
As you see, we're working at the same time with concepts and
programming, correlated one with other, in a progressive way and squeak
is a so rich environment that you can choose the path you like, even
with no prior knowledge or vocabulary. Finding your way could take you
time, but the nice thing about community is that we're here to share
experience, making, maybe, things easier for you.
Some documentation about the experience, including readings and
activities can be found here (is in spanish, but hey, we, the spanish
speakers, are reading english centered documentation almost all the
time, so is time to produce local language docs):
I hope that helps,
Greg Smith escribió:
> 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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