[squeakland] Best way to use Etoys 4

Carlos Rabassa carnen at mac.com
Thu Oct 29 10:19:15 EDT 2009

Mr. Subramaniam,

Thank you very much for such a complete answer.

I am going to translate my questions and your answers for distribution  
through the america-latina and rapceibal forums that are read by  
spanish and portuguese speaking enthusiasts.

I'm sure they will be very helpful in getting things moving.

Some of your comments,  although coming from far away hit it right on  
the point.

I guess our minds and concerns work the same all around the world.

I have seen your name among the developers at Squeakland.

What would you like me to tell our fellow Squeakers about your  

You say you assist teachers.  Are you a teacher yourself?

Thanks again.


On Oct 29, 2009, at 9:53 AM, K. K. Subramaniam wrote:

> On Wednesday 28 October 2009 02:36:13 pm Carlos Rabassa wrote:
>> What recommendations would Etoys - experienced teachers and the
>> creators of Etoys give to teachers who are just starting to use Etoys
>> in their classrooms?
> Etoys is a powerful learning environment. People need time to get  
> used to this
> environment. The toys in the catalog are based on metaphors that may  
> not
> correspond to objects encountered by children in daily life in your  
> region. So
> make sure teachers (and students) get lots of time to play with it and
> establish their own metaphors. For instance, some children may  
> prefer to think
> of "lasso" as "scissors".
> Not all features are discoverable through exploration. So guidance is
> necessary for such advanced features. For instance, Etoys can also  
> exist on
> screen without being "visible". The object can be transparent,  
> hidden or use a
> camouflage costume. You could immerse a piece of glass in water to  
> illustrate
> such features.
> BTW, Etoys is a "classroom" ;-).
>> How much should they do and how much should they ask the students  
>> to do?
> Initially it is very much co-exploration. Teachers have the  
> advantage of
> experience, but fear of accidents may hold them back. Children, with  
> unbridled
> curiousity, explore freely without fear and discover "features"  
> faster than
> adults. But they also get distracted easily.
> One way to work around such issues is for teachers to initiate a  
> project on a
> particular topic (e.g. water conservation) and then get the students  
> to
> elaborate it further. Learning happens while "doing" projects.
>> What is the best way to ask the class to do a project?
> The best way is best left to teachers and local practices :-). I  
> assist
> teachers only on the mechanics of Etoys. I encourage them to ask  
> "how to..."
> rather than "what is the best way..".
> Most teachers use activities (like paper craft, beads, ball game  
> etc.) for
> concept development. I help teachers model those same activities in  
> Etoys.
> Children get to redo the same activities in Etoys and then go on to  
> discover
> the extra capabilities in the digital environment.
> For instance, a given count of beads are arranged in a rectangular  
> shape to
> discover factors. The same can be done by resizing a holder with  
> objects. This
> experiment is much easier (and faster) in Etoys.
> Or a teacher can get students to drop a ball and trace its locus on  
> a wall and
> then create this model in Etoys. Once this is done, students can  
> study how
> different gravitational forces affect the movement.
>> How do experienced evaluators rank projects?
>> Where do they look for value in a project?
> I am not sure if Etoys projects can be evaluated this way. The value  
> is in the
> thinking ("debugging") that goes into a project. Of course, it is  
> possible to
> create a project specifically for evaluation (e.g. an essay or a  
> diagram). In
> this case, Etoys is just an digital editor.
> It is nice to get in touch with school supporters around the world.  
> Thanks for
> reaching out.
> Regards .. Subbu

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