Could Elementary students use this?

Jim Ford jaford at
Sat Mar 22 17:49:08 PST 2003

On Sat, Mar 22, 2003 at 09:20:25AM -0700, Christel Smith wrote:

> Hi Gentleman,
>     I am a teacher trying to get other teachers to use technology so that
> students think. Beyond the PowerPoint mentality... While I was looking
> through a weblog (which I think is interesting), I found your site. 
> Before I run around extolling the virtues of this I will have to do
> another great learning curve and try and figure out how to do it so that I
> can make it accessible for teachers who generally don't have time to play
> with technology.  Any suggestions?  Would the books recommended be good
> for someone without any programming concepts?

My experience in the U.K is that Teachers are not very receptive to new
ideas/technology - they're too busy 'Delivering The Curriculum'. I can't say
I blame them when it comes to computer technology - most of them have
experienced the sinking feeling when confronted by the 'Windows Blue Screen
Of Death' halfway through some important work. I also allways tell the pupils when it
comes to datalogging, that if they trudge up Mount Everest to make some
observations, it's no good getting up on the Summit and finding the
batteries of your datalogger have gone flat and you've dropped the spares 5000
feet below. Their best bet in a one-off chance situation is still a pencil
and paper!

When it comes to Smalltalk-80, which Squeak is based on, prior programming
experience may not be particularly helpful. The Class/Object paradigm is
unlike most other languages and can be offputting to those used to more
mainstream languages. I find it very elegant!

>From what I've seen on Squeak related sites, and the projects supplied with
the installation, there is very little - if anything - between the
heavyweight projects like chess, tetris and scamper and the trivial projects
just showing a page of graphics. We really could do with a suite of _graded_

When (if!) I get up to speed with Squeak perhaps I'll try a predator/prey
simulation - I think it would suite the language/program development

Regards: Jim Ford

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