[ANN] Fun programming with your kids

stéphane ducasse ducasse at iam.unibe.ch
Mon May 30 06:43:46 UTC 2005

On 30 mai 05, at 0:19, John Pfersich wrote:

> Gee, there are no used copies yet!!! :^(
> So what does the cover look like?

Not that bad for an editor choice :)

>  -------------- Original message ----------------------
> From: stéphane ducasse <ducasse at iam.unibe.ch>
>> Hi
>> 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
>> http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1590594916/
>> qid=1117218524/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/002-5642974-5143261?v=glance&s=books
>> http://smallwiki.unibe.ch/botsinc/
>> 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
>> discover.
>> 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.
>> Testimonies
>> "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 -
>> Germany
>> Have fun...please distribute
>> Stef
>> http://www.iam.unibe.ch/~ducasse/
>>   "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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