[Squeakland] Suggestions for pedagogical examples in Squeak?

Richard Borge richared at ifi.uio.no
Mon Feb 16 09:21:30 PST 2004

Hello all.

If any of you have any helpfull information about my questions below, I 
will be very

I recently finished my Masters thesis - called "Learning OOP using 
Graphical Programming
environments - An Experimental study" - at the University of Oslo. I now 
work as a
researcher in the COOL (Comprehensive Object-Oriented Learning) project 
here in Oslo.
Information about the COOL project can be found on 

In this project we are trying to explore different methods for teaching OOP 
by looking
at what others have done and experimenting ourselves. My job is conducting
experiments and gathering as much data as possible. We are currently trying 
to set
up new experiments and one of them will be attempted on children of 11-12 
years old.
The reason for selecting this age group is because of having to use an 
english tool.
We are aiming a three days experiment where we will try to teach the 
children basic
Object Oriented concepts. We have decided not to focus on code as we feel 
there is
a risk this can get boring. Instead we are focusing on general OO 
understanding and
the use of a graphical tool therefore seems like the way to go. Right now 
we are
considering Squeak and Alice.

I finally come to the reason I write this post: I am looking for some good 
off activities in Squeak to present to our group of subjects. Something 
that is
educational and fun. The hard part will be finding activities that will be 
fun and
interesting. I have been looking at the Internet for some examples and I 
have found a
few good ones. I really liked the Race car example as it captures good 
points about OO:
That there are multiple ojects in one system that have certain 
characteristics and that
one object (the steering wheel) can affect the other object (the car). If 
we in addition
make a race track and race conditions and get the students to race their 
cars, we are
really talking fun and educational at the same time! But I would like more 
than just this one, something that can appeal to people who don't like cars 
and also
examples that illustrate other aspects of OO. Here are a few suggestions to 
points we
feel the pupils should be introduced to. There may be too many here and I 
may have
forgotten some and a couple may not be very good, but here goes:
1. A computer program consists of many objects.
2. An object is an "independent" chunk of information.
3. Objects can affect each other and change each others behavior.
4. We have different types of objects.
5. We can program the objects to a certain behavior.
6. Simple pseudo code.
7. Not all objects need to contain all sort of information, It is important 
to find
    relevant information to go into an object (A steering wheel, doesn't 
need the color
    of the car, for instance).
8. How to make a model of a larger computer system. To make drawings of 
what we need.

If any of you know of any good examples on the Net where it is possible to 
get some
inspiration, I would be very gratefull. Or if you have examples you have 
used in your
classes, that would also be great. I am not asking for complete examples, 
but suggestions
of topics and such. I have been tossing a few ideas around but more input 
would be very

Thank you for your time, it was a long post.

Best regards,
Richard Borge.
Cand.scient. Department of Informatics, University of Oslo

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