[etoys-dev] Etoys documentation TOC
K. K. Subramaniam
subbukk at gmail.com
Thu Sep 3 09:01:55 EDT 2009
On Thursday 03 Sep 2009 4:31:55 pm Rita Freudenberg wrote:
> 2. Getting started (technical description on how to install and start
> etoys on different operating systems)
IMHO, we should separate technical reference from learner's reference.
Installation is something that is done once while learning happens all the
Existing guides (e.g. Powerful Ideas, help) use a prescriptive style (press
this, do this etc.). Many beginners get into a mechanical action mode. IMHO,
children (and teachers) need a conceptual style that helps them transition
from real world to digital world. A lesson I learnt the hard way :-(.
Nowadays I introduce Etoys as a kit containing thousands of 'tiny powerful
automatic computers'. They have a button panel (halo buttons) and keyboard
(for text entry) but no 'form'. We paint a shape or stick a graphic label to
recognise and manipulate them. These computers can memorize stuff and follow
instructions but they have no will or consciousness of their own. So we have
to "think" for them and give them right instructions. We can also get two or
more "computers" to work together as a team ("pick up your heading from
wheel's heading", align next to, move towards etc). Such a team of computers
can be used to tell a story ("water cycle"), calculate magnitudes ("if I walk
10 units north and then 10 units east, how far am I from the starting point?")
or model things around us ("seeds on a sunflower") to discover patterns.
I hope I am too off the mark here. Originally, the term "computer" referred to
a smart person who did calculations. Later, electronic machines were designed
to mimic their operations and these were dubbed "automatic computers".
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