[Squeakland] Bots Inc, Robocup or Maze Squad. --Collective problem solving

Offray Vladimir Luna Cárdenas offray.luna at javeriana.edu.co
Wed Jan 17 09:06:07 PST 2007

Hi all again,

(Sorry for the cross posting, but I would like to have feedback from  an 
advice from  a newbie to programming from the perspective of an expert 
and also feedback from the perspective of an educator).

As I said in another mail, this  semester is starting and I'm planning 
the activities for the courses. One of them is for people related with 
Informatics Technologies and Education (Virtual Learning) as I wrote 
previously* and the other one if for freshmen students in University 
(most of them). For the second one group I'm thinking in some kind of 
collaborative game development, following the ideas of the previous 
semester with the Pingus/Lemmings Clone [1]. This time I want to go 
quickly on Etoys and use the Bots Inc. environment to write more code 
overpassing the restrictions intended for Etoys and younger children.

[1] http://pingus.seul.org/welcome.html

At the same time, I'm interested in study the collaborative solving of 
problems from a theoretical, computational and educative perspective. 
The idea is to make some kind of Squeak simulation on how collective 
problem solving its carried and see, in the classroom, if the model, in 
some way, its related with reality. From the previous semester work I 
have some ideas and hypothesis (thanks to the community on these list 
for educational reflexion, multiagent hints and specially to Scott 
Wallace for his "coordination" code for messages to stars).

I would like to hear what do you think of this ideas for student projects:

 - To make some kind of robocup: There will be two competing teams that 
are trying to make a point putting a "ball" in the goal of the 
opponents. I'm not so interested in thing like perception (where is the 
ball), but I'm on coordination between Robots and how they solve, in a 
collective fashion, a problem. In that sense I have thought this other 
project also,

 - To make some kind of Maze  Squad: It's some kind of pingus clone, but 
using Bots instead of Etoys. The robots are lock in a maze and you can 
see the maze from upside (a la Pacman). They're relatively dumb (if they 
found a wall they just bounce and go back, if they found a hole they 
just fall into it), but there are some special bots which can be 
selected to accomplish special task and help the others to get out of 
the maze.

I'm not a programmer and with Squeak I'm relearning the experience of 
programming with my students. But I have no problem learning and 
exploring with them. We don't even need to solve the problem 
(programming the all game). I just want to build with my students a nice 
place to learn and to probe ideas and see "emergent behavior". My bet is 
on the second project, but may be you have more hints to share with my 
and my students.



Pdt: * I'm still waiting for ideas or pointer on collective hypermedia 
authoring... :-)

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