[ANN] Fun programming with your kids

Gary Fisher gafisher at sprynet.com
Sat May 28 03:09:18 UTC 2005

Excellent news, Stef!  I've preordered a copy and am recommending it to our
school and local libraries.

For those whose email programs "broke" the original link,
http://tinyurl.com/ey63x will do the job.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "stéphane ducasse" <ducasse at iam.unibe.ch>
To: "The general-purpose Squeak developers list"
<squeak-dev at lists.squeakfoundation.org>
Sent: Friday, May 27, 2005 4:14 PM
Subject: [ANN] Fun programming with your kids


If you are a parent, an educator or a programmer having kids this is
for you! After 4 years of work, my new book "Squeak: Learn
programming with Robots" will be out soon


With Bots Inc you will learn how to program robots in an interactive
environment. Bots Inc proposes three teaching approaches: direct
command of robots, scripting robots and programming robots. The book
contains 24 chapters going step by step over topics with a lot of
examples. Bots Inc is fun but it is not a toy, it teaches you 100%
real programming in Smalltalk: a pure object-oriented programming
language that has been copied by Java. Bots Inc is built on top of
the rich open-source multimedia Squeak environment that you can also

My goal is to explain key elementary programming concepts (such as
loops, abstraction, composition, and conditionals) to novices of all
ages. I believe that learning by experimenting and solving problems
with fun is central to human knowledge acquisition. Therefore, I have
presented programming concepts through simple but not trivial
problems such as drawing golden rectangles or simulating animal
behavior. The ideal reader I have in mind is an individual who wants
to have fun programming. This person may be a teenager or an adult, a
schoolteacher, or somebody teaching programming to children in some
other organization. Such an individual does not have to be fluent in
programming in any language. As a father of two young boys I also
wrote this book for all the parents that want to have fun programming
with their kids in a powerful interactive environment. Programming in
Smalltalk is an interactive, fun but deep experience.


"I am using the version of the book on your web site to teach my
oldest daughter Becca some programming. She absolutely loves it. We
are doing the Bot graphics right. My other kids are showing interest
as well. My Fall semester schedule leaves me with almost no time free
but in the Spring I hope to bring Squeak and your book to our
elementary school's "gifted" program." C. David Shaffer

"I'm using the Bot Lab environment for three years and found it
really valuable in teaching computer science concepts for a young
audience (and even less young !). The bots commanded through balloon
(as in comic strips) is a very nice introduction for young children,
and when this aspect is well understood, you can use the Bot
Workspace to teach the notion of script, a first step in programming
languages. The Micro Browser allows children to add new behavior for
their bots, and have fun with their creation. This three-layers tool
- Balloon, Micro Workspace, Micro Browser - offers to the teacher a
fun way to introduce gently the basis of object-oriented programming
concepts. With Bots Inc, learning is playing ! ;-)" Samir Saidani -
University of Caen - France

"I recently started a course with 7th-graders (age about 13 years)
with Stephane's book --- they love it. They all know about syntactic
issues from maths --- in a way they know that an expression in a
formal language must be well formed. So they easily grasp the fact
such as "there must be a colon after the message-name if an argument
follows". Of cause they don't really read the error-messages, they
just see "there must be some error" and they remember the simple
rules. Don't underestimate Smalltalk --- it's easy understandable
because it has a simple and straight-forward design." Klaus Fuller -

Have fun...please distribute


  "if you knew today was your last day on earth, what would you
  do different? ...  especially if,  by doing something different,
  today might not be your last day on earth" Calvin&Hobbes

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