[IAEP] etoys initial usability compared with scratch
billkerr at gmail.com
Sun Jan 4 11:45:04 EST 2009
It takes a long time to train teachers to use Etoys who have never used
a computer before. Etoys _requires_ mastery of the touchpad and that was
more than we could teach in 2 weeks of training. Dragging and dropping
is a non-trivial skill.
I think we can train teachers familiar w/ computers how to use Etoys.
Unfortunately, 95% of the teachers we deal and will deal w/ are not very
familiar w/ computers.
This is one of the major differences b/w Nepal's deployments and those
of more developed countries like Uruguay
drag and drop?
It is does if you require a lot of dragging-and-dropping together w/
right-clicking. For example, our teachers got the hang of Draw during
training but they struggled w/ Etoys. They could do
point-click-activities like GCompris, E-Paath, Maze, etc. w/out a
If you did a usability study comparing the etoys interface with the scratch
interface you'll find that scratch provides for a much easier startup
This includes the touchpad issue (eg. in etoys you have to draw and keep a
sprite before you can begin to program) but also there are many other
factors which makes scratch easier to use for a beginner
* colour coding of different function
* all the function areas are visible to start with
* clear physical separation of blocks palette from scripting area from
* easier, more intuitive to see how blocks fit together
I recently had a collaborative session with some xos and was introduced to
the excellent etoys collaborative features (etoys chat and ability to pass
scripted objects b/w users). These are great. I'm just arguing here about
the getting started features which have impacted on the Nepal teacher
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