[Squeakland] An opportunity to promote Squeak in Singapore

Luke Gorrie luke at member.fsf.org
Thu Feb 14 21:27:18 PST 2008

Hi Harish,

We've done two 3-4 hour Squeak-for-beginner sessions in Kathmandu
recently. There've been about 25-30 participants in each and from a
range of backgrounds (kids, teachers, programmers, our family members,
etc). Only a few of our participants have been under 12 (six of them
I'd estimate) and they've done at least as well as the adults. People
had a LOT of fun at the one last saturday.

The format is a computer lab where each student has their own computer
and the instructors share a machine that's hooked up to a projector.
We've had about five instructors each time: we take turns
demonstrating Squeak features on the projector and otherwise wander
around the room helping people out and answering questions.

The program we've used is based on the "drive a car" example from Alan
and Kim and we've found it very well matched to complete beginners.
Here's the agenda we used last saturday:

1. Introduction to Squeak (30 minutes). Demonstrate how to use
halos&handles and how to paint sketches. The students follow along and
have a 15 minute practice session to draw a car that they'll be

2. Scripting (30 minutes). Introduce the concept of scripting and
build up to a car that can be driven. Usually we draw a steering wheel
and write a script that turns the car based on the wheel's heading.
It's also possible to e.g. have the car follow some object that you
can pick up with the mouse and other variations.

3. More advanced scripting (30 minutes). We create a simple car game
by drawing a racetrack on the background of the screen (painting a
curvy line with the largest brush setting) and adding some simple
scripts: (a) car moves fast on the road but slowly when off road
(introducing test/yes/no 'is over color' tiles), (b) car makes a
"brrrrbrbrbrbrr" sound when it's driving off the road (introducing
sound recorder and 'make sound' tile -- important to have microphone
and speakers on each machine!), (c) cheering sound is made when the
car crosses a differently-coloured finish line.

4. More practice followed by Q&A and demonstration of some fancy
projects that we had already prepared.

In the first workshop we had one additional segment but we reckon this
shorter agenda is better - it left people wanting more instead of
being a bit tired. (It also meant we could fit the whole thing in
before lunch instead of having a long break in the middle.)

There's a LOT of room for improvisation both on the projector and on
each person's own computer.  On saturday we showed a couple of people
individually how to program the car to drive around the road as a
robot and that was pretty clear to them (proudly one was my mum :-) a
born programmer if only she knew it!).

NB: We use the XO image on normal PCs for this.

Let us know if you have any questions. We're quite close to one
another so we could possibly cooperate a little bit. I passed through
singapore in december and january and I'll be sure to let you know if
I'll be there any time soon.

For more info see these blog entries:


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