[etoys-dev] (SQ-749) and Kathleen's question on "What do you mean by Artifacts?"

K. K. Subramaniam kksubbu.ml at gmail.com
Thu Aug 12 12:42:21 EDT 2010

On Thursday 12 Aug 2010 8:41:46 pm Steve Thomas wrote:
> The challenge in a system where everything is done from "First Principles"
> is that when you are designing an"educational environment"  "lesson",
> or "Artifact" ( better terms might be "playthink" and/or "tool to think
> with"), it can take a lot of work to build those preferably translucent
> boxes.
The learning env may have become digital today but the challenge is not very 
different. Ever tried to help 5-8 yr olds learn basic arith ops with a 
electronic calculator around? I found that they figure out the tool faster than 
basic ops and then are not motivated to work through long additions. Kids 
spend long hours adding a string of numbers like 3+3+3 .... and then suddenly 
the mult tables start making a lot of sense. Or after exploring multiple ways 
of solving 792 - 598 and stumbling on an unconventional solution - like 
boosting both by 2 and solve 794 - 600 ;-).

It is tempting to build "convenience tools" and drop them into Etoys for kids 
to use. But a much better way is to let them plod through and figure it out for 
themselves. Tips and shortcuts can be offered later after basic comprehension 
is in place.


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