A Tardy Christmas Present: Squeak Etoys Tutorial


What do you think of Squeak Etoys? Better yet, what do you even know of Squeak? Or Etoys? Were you aware it was inspired by LOGO, PARC-Smalltalk, Hypercard, and starLOGO?

And as LOGO seems to be one of the base inspirations for One laptop Per Child, what Seymour Papert used in his initial "learn learning" programs with children, might you want a tutorial of how it's used on the OLPC XO?

If so, you are in luck with this tardy Christmas present. A Squeak Etoys tutorial for OLPC on YouTube:


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etoys rock. They are really powerful. They convinced me of Seymour Papert's constructionist theories.

Also check out gcompris educational suite www.gcompris.net. You can download it for free and run it on Linux. Gcompris is not as powerful as squeak and etoys but it is a comprehensive set of fun learning tools. Gcompris is written in Python and GTK+ so it should work readily w/ Sugar. We at OLPC Nepal hope to port it to the XO as an activity, if somebody else hasn't done it already.

Actually using the etoys program to create my own toys is what convinced me of their incredible utility. Watching the demo is nice but not sufficient. You can dowload and run them on Linux or Windows from www.squeak.org

Has anyone thought of puting Mark Overmars GameMaker on this thing? The GUI is plenty easy to use, and the GML (C with routines for games, and less restrictive syntax.) for those more ambitius kids. Possibly the four best arguments for GameMaker are:
1. Complete self containment. It has an easy built in animator, you don't need to switch up and back between aplications.
2. Ease of use. I started using it when I was 11 (Im 13 now), and I found it easy enough to use with only basic knowledge of Python (By basic I mean that making a prime finder was at the limits of what I could do). It doesn't actually use any code unless you use GML, its just: drag and drop blocks in to order, press F5 and play your creation.
3. It teaches some of the most important skills , like animation, simple programming.
4. Finaly, its a blast. I still use GameMaker because its so easy to create amazing games. Also it has a compile and merge game features, so these kids could share the games they make.

GameMaker is a nice program with some well implemented features. Unfortunately you'd need to run Wine on the XO laptop because GameMaker is a Windows program.
I doubt the laptop could manage it.

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