[squeak-dev] Dynabook concept, critic view

H. Hirzel hannes.hirzel at gmail.com
Tue Jul 24 05:39:11 UTC 2018

Hi Hilaire

The Dynabook concept is often linked to the Etoys concept and
implementation.  I think it is important that you remind us that Etoys
is constructivism oriented and as such is not the only learning model.
So it actually results in the conclusion that the field of application
of the Dynabook idea is much wider.  In the sense of  a 'Dynamic book'
read and used on an electronic device.

A question then is

Do we think of a 'Dynamic note book'?

A note book comes with initially blank pages and this is what the
current Squeak/Pharo/Cuis releases represent at the moment.

If the answer is 'no' as I understand you it means that

a) dynamic essays have to be written by teachers and the students read
them and use the animations to explore the field of a particular
topic.  [1]

b) the teacher on the other side may rely on a collection of dynamic
essays - or we may as well say - 'lessons' or 'teaching units'  to
choose what to present to the students.

c) a dynamic book may be used for self study of a topic. That means
that the student selects for a possibly large collection of dynamic
essays what to study and learn

What does 'writing a dynamic essay' mean?

As with traditional text book writing there is
a) formatted text and
b) graphics. What comes in addition are
c) short scripts relying on existing material to produce graphics and
d) sound
e) video

Then a last question which I think should be investigated thoroughly
be looking also at past efforts.

What makes such an endeavour successful?

As a contribution towards an answer I have

a) "ease of use".

- This is mostly about the language and DSL used for scripting
- And for this to happen it also means that there is a considerable
collection of examples.

b) availability of a "lesson / teaching units collection" .

In terms of downloads, your Dr. Geo implementation of a Smalltalk
based scripting environment for producing teaching and learning
artifacts is successful. So the question may as well be

"What will make it MORE successful?"


[1] In terms of implementation  _one option_ is that the content is
assembled in the Smalltalk environment and  then an exported version
in HTML/CSS/JavaScript is produced to be read on the web.

On 7/20/18, David T. Lewis <lewis at mail.msen.com> wrote:
> Hilaire,
> I see, it makes perfect sense now. I am looking forward to more of
> your writings :-)
> Dave
> On Fri, Jul 20, 2018 at 10:41:28AM +0200, Hilaire wrote:
>> Hi Dave,
>> Regarding the teachers, you are right they were involved :) I used Etoys
>> with students too, and wrote Dr. Geo for it and some other small Etoys
>> controllable artifacts.
>> What I have in mind in this latter writing is a different form of
>> teacher oriented support/care/attention.
>> By teacher support, I think about contents artifacts a teacher can use
>> to directly support her/his teaching, whatever the used *teaching
>> model*. Etoys is very constructivism oriented and I think it restrains
>> too much its use case. Sometime the teacher just want to demo a concept
>> with a computerized simulation - as it can be done in geometry with
>> Dr.Geo. Computerized models/micro-world like theses are very
>> useful/practical to teacher, to quickly set up a demo or an activity. If
>> it takes too much time to set up such activities, most teachers will not
>> do it. Some other time, a teacher may just want to build quickly a drill
>> activity with embarked computerized model/simulation.
>> All this kind of support were missing in Etoys, because Etoys is
>> children oriented, not teacher oriented. This is roughly what I mean in
>> my article conclusion. I planned to elaborate more on other writings.
>> Years ago (around 2010) I exposed very briefly this position to the
>> Etoys fellows. But I was then occupied by other activities.
>> Thanks
>> Hilaire
>> Le 19/07/2018 ?? 18:58, David T. Lewis a ??crit??:
>> > Regarding teachers, I had the impression that teachers were very active
>> > and involved in the Etoys project. I recall from that mailing list
>> > (http://lists.squeakland.org/pipermail/etoys-dev/) that much of the
>> > discussions came from teachers, and the people doing development seemed
>> > to be focused on supporting them. Maybe someone who was involved in the
>> > project can comment further, but that was my impression.
>> --
>> Dr. Geo
>> http://drgeo.eu

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