[OLPC-Games] High School Programming "Jam"

Bert Freudenberg bert at freudenbergs.de
Tue Apr 17 06:47:07 EDT 2007

On Apr 17, 2007, at 4:29 , jofate at jotaro.com wrote:

> The current builds of the laptops also have Etoys running inside of a
> Squeak (Smalltalk) environment.  Squeak lets you examine and change  
> the
> code of any object in the system while it is running, which may lend
> itself to a more exploratory approach than PyGame.  The material on  
> the
> Etoys website seems to emphasize science and math exploratory  
> exercises
> over more traditional forms of programming or computer games.  You can
> download Etoys here:
> http://www.squeakland.org/
> There are also examples on the site of what other schools have done  
> with
> Etoys.

Indeed, since in Etoys you work directly with the objects, you get to  
results very fast, within minutes. Like, you paint an object, and you  
can add behavior by drag and drop, no syntax to learn first. In my  
experience girls focus much more on the painting than the behavior,  
but that's fine for me, it gets them engadged. This is even fun for  
high-school students, although the primary target for etoys is  
elementary school. The range of programming constructs is limited  
(but Turing-complete ;) because the focus is not on learning to  
program but on learning to model behavior.

For older students, Scratch is a very nice environment from MIT  
(http://scratch.mit.edu/) that provides a full range of programming  
elements, but still has a drag-and-drop interface. It's very easy to  
get started, and makes a nice introduction to structured programming.  
 From there it's easy to jump to a programming language, because you  
already know the most important constructs visually.

- Bert -

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