[Etoys] Fwd: PataPata postmortem link

Bert Freudenberg bert at freudenbergs.de
Mon Nov 27 07:10:52 EST 2006

Hi folks,

Paul Fernhout, former Squeaker, posted an interesting post-mortem  
analysis of his experiment to create an educational environment in  


- Bert -

Begin forwarded message:

> From: "Paul D. Fernhout" <pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com>
> Date: November 26, 2006 22:50:02  GMT+01:00
> To: "edu-sig at python.org" <edu-sig at python.org>
> Subject: [Edu-sig] FYI: PataPata postmortem link
> Just as an FYI, as a way to wind up the PataPata project (or at  
> least one
> phase of it), I wrote a lengthy postmortem critique of the PataPata
> project to date, plus ideas for where to go from here. You can read  
> the
> critique by following this link:
> "PataPata critique: the good, the bad, the ugly"
> http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/forum.php? 
> thread_id=31111569&forum_id=48729
> Comments welcome.
> For reference, the PataPata project is/was """an experiment to support
> educational constructivism on the Python platform, inspired by  
> "Squeak"
> and "Self", but going beyond those in a Pythonic way."""
>  From the introduction: """It's been about three months from my  
> last post
> to the PataPata list as well as my last major change to the system.  
> I have
> been thinking about the system in the intervening time, and feel  
> ready to
> produce a critique of it as an experiment (sort of as a, sadly,
> "postmortem" report). Others are welcome to chime in. This critique  
> covers
> various good, bad, and ugly results from this experiment, and then
> outlines some thoughts on where to go next. This note
> marks the end of this phase of the PataPata experiment. I am  
> uncertain if
> this project on SourceForge will see more development, but I am  
> certain if
> there is more development on this particular SourceForge project,  
> it will
> likely be in a radically different direction than the work  
> published here
> to date. """
> ===
> By the way, my decision to write a critique of PataPata was  
> inspired in
> part by this paper by Drew McDermott, "Artificial Intelligence meets
> Natural Stupidity".
>    http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1045340 [fee based link]
> The core of the paper is here:
>    http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1406540
>  From there:
> "McDermott explains how all research should be based on actual
> implementations, and be a thorough report on them. What is needed is a
> very clear picture of what was tried, what worked, what didn't, why  
> didn't
> that work. And there must be a working program that later  
> researchers can
> play with. Later research can build on these partial solutions, and  
> report
> the exact improvements made since the previous version, the  
> improvement in
> performance, etc. As McDermott states:
>      The standard for such research should be a partial success,  
> but AI as
> a field is starving for a few carefully documented failures. Anyone  
> can
> think of several theses that could be improved stylistically and
> substantively by being rephrased as reports on failures. I can  
> learn more
> by just being told why a technique won't work than by being made to  
> read
> between the lines."
> Thanks again to people here for your previous feedback on the project.
> --Paul Fernhout
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