[Squeakland] nearly tearful success story

Randy Heiland heiland at indiana.edu
Wed Oct 26 02:13:00 PDT 2005


I admit that I'm sort of winging it as I go along with this  
particular group.  While it would be nice to say that I'm addressing  
"Indiana Academic Standard x.x.x for Mathematics/Science, Grade  
X" (and I do have those Standards sitting on my desk), I can't  
honestly say that -- at least not yet.  Fortunately, since this  
particular group/workshop is an after-school activity, the pressure  
is off (in some sense) to adhere to any academic standards.  My basic  
strategy, as with my own children, is simply to try to have fun on  
the computer, while doing some activity that is creative (and non- 
violent, non-destructive) for them, that they can take personal  
ownership/pride in having done, and that, hopefully, does instill  
some small sense of excitement about doing mathematics or science.

Regarding Squeak projects, as I've hinted at in past postings and  
make available from our lab's web page, I have a thing for geometry/ 
patterns/symmetries -- esp. as found in nature and art.  But lately I  
guess I'm in a Squeak 'sibling' frame of mind, exploring the  
interesting possibilities of sibling dynamics.  I'm still amazed at  
the simplicity and power of the Squeak user interface.

BTW, I do share part of your frustration at using Squeak at times  
(rf. http://poincare.uits.iupui.edu/~heiland/squeak/ ).  But these  
frustrations are mostly insignificant in the bigger picture of what  
is possible.  And besides, Squeak continues to evolve.

I look forward to hearing about/seeing some of your future projects!


On Oct 25, 2005, at 12:29 PM, Mark Engelberg wrote:

> Thanks for the story.  I'd love to hear more details about what you're
> teaching them.  What curriculum are you using with the girls?  Are you
> using the "Powerful Ideas" book, or something else?  If something
> else, what?
> --Mark
> On 10/25/05, Randy Heiland <heiland at indiana.edu> wrote:
>> I just wanted to report another successful introduction of Squeak/ 
>> eToys to a
>> young group of children here in Indianapolis.  I began a new  
>> Squeak workshop
>> (for 6-8 year old girls) at an after-school community center last  
>> night and
>> came away once again rejuvenated about seeing children excited to do
>> something creative on a computer.  I say it was a "nearly tearful  
>> success"
>> simply because their computer lab was very small so the girls had to
>> triple-up on each computer and take turns and, well, not everyone  
>> got as
>> much as they would have liked which generated some sadness.
>> It was just the beginning of this particular workshop and we got  
>> no further
>> than the basics, but I can tell that the girls were already very  
>> excited
>> about using eToys and I look forward to our remaining sessions.
>> I don't believe the Squeak/eToys developers hear it often enough,  
>> so, again,
>> thanks for this remarkable piece of software.
>> --Randy
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