[OT] - Are computers in education better now than 20 years ago?

Levi Pearson levi at cold.org
Mon Feb 12 12:58:59 MST 2007


> I should really look more into Squeak to see if it makes doing this easy or not.
>
> Dan

Squeak is very cool, but not as a system for making programs that look
like a typical user would expect a program to look like.  I do think
it's a great educational computer platform, since it's got stuff in it
that looks fun to kids and makes it relatively easy to figure out how
to do similar things.  The main trouble is that there's a LOT of stuff
in Squeak, and it's not all terribly well documented.  It's a very
powerful system, though, and anyone curious about what it can do
should watch one of the many Alan Kay presentations on YouTube, in
which he uses Squeak as his slideshow mechanism and demos all sorts of
nifty stuff.

One of the key ideas of the current Squeak interface that you might
find interesting is the Morphic GUI system.  Morphs were borrowed from
the Self system, which is a Smalltalk derivative developed at Sun.  A
Morph combines data with a visual representation that can be
manipulated directly via keyboard and mouse.  If you've got access to
a Mac, you might find it interesting to download the original Self
system and see how Morphs worked there.  It's got a little tutorial
demo that walks you through developing some simple ones.  The downside
to Morphs is that they are highly non-standard compared to traditional
GUI toolkits, but that shouldn't be too much of an obstacle to a kid
that just wants to do cool-looking stuff with a computer.

                --Levi



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