[IAEP] scratch gone missing

Tomeu Vizoso tomeu at sugarlabs.org
Sun Nov 8 06:03:51 EST 2009

On Sat, Nov 7, 2009 at 23:28, Bill Kerr <billkerr at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Nov 7, 2009 at 11:43 PM, Bert Freudenberg <bert at freudenbergs.de>
> wrote:
>> On 07.11.2009, at 04:48, Bill Kerr wrote:
>> > On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 11:35 PM, Tomeu Vizoso <tomeu at sugarlabs.org>
>> > wrote:
>> >> On Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 11:10, Bill Kerr <billkerr at gmail.com> wrote:
>> >> > http://activities.sugarlabs.org/en-US/sugar/browse/type:1/cat:107
>> >> > How come scratch is no longer available for sugar?
>> >> > (the link is to the programming category of sugar activities)
>> >>
>> >> You mean Scratch was available in ASLO but isn't any more?
>> >>
>> > No but it should be there since Scratch has a far better UI than Etoys
>> Agreed on the "should be there" part.
>> As for "better UI": Scratch does what it does incredibly well. If all
>> you want to do can be done in Scratch then it is an excellent tool.
>> Etoys is way more powerful, but comparatively hard to get into.
> thanks for replying Bert
> I'm not sure what you mean by Etoys being way more powerful. I would agree
> that Kedama, the parallel tile particle system, is way more powerful than
> anything in Scratch.
> Did you have something more in mind?
> For teachers the ability to make an easy start with a program is very
> important. When teaching a group then if several students encounter
> something they can't solve then it creates huge problems, especially for
> difficult to manage classes. And even for more advanced students features
> that are easy to find and work smoothly are important so that they can focus
> clearly on the challenging learning (scripting) rather than hunting around
> for where the tools are. There are a whole lot of features in Scratch that
> makes this possible (as you acknowledge). I haven't spelt out those features
> in detail here but will run some more tests and attempt to do so soon. One
> of my students mentions some of them here:
> http://soeasyman123.blogspot.com/2009/11/great-race.html
> "I found Etoys very troublesome for a few reasons.
> 1. was because whenever I tried to save it would just close the program and
> I would jsut simply lose all my work. this occurred to me 3 times.
> 2. I couldn't view the scripts while having the cars move because the
> scripts would get in the way of the test.
> 3. the scripts were always in the way of the pictures so i had to close them
> everytime i finished with them which was very time consuming.
> 4. the drawing tools on Etoys aren't the greatest tools you could get.
> Although these reasons were troublesome I found Etoys interesting because
> there were so many scripts and other things to play with"
> My inclination has been to try to transition students from scratch to python
> - but it doesn't work all that well I think in part because Scratch is
> *entirely* visual drag and drop tiles and the transition to text based
> programming is too abrupt for many. It might work better with etoys if the
> intended transition was from etoys to smalltalk (squeak). That might be a
> better way to go but a harder sell in a school environment (since python is
> a better known language and also fits in with Sugar)
> I think that GameMaker (proprietary but a free version is available) handles
> this issue best - it has drag and drop for beginners and a code window for
> more advanced and you can mix and match scripts using both features
> together. I know that etoys has a code window but I found it very difficult
> to use successfully.
>> Etoys does integrate into Sugar reasonably well, unlike Scratch. If
>> platform conformity was the sole criterium for "better UI" then Etoys
>> would win hands down, with its Journal and Collaboration support.
> ok - with SoaS my efforts to enable collaboration on our school network have
> not been successful so although I have seen these features (in a session
> organised by Donna Benjamin in Melbourne a year ago) my students haven't
> been able to enjoy them unfortunately
>> But another, maybe even more important difference is that Etoys is an
>> open-source community project. So if there is an Etoys itch you know
>> how to scratch (pun intended): patches welcome :)
> Yes, I suspect this (the license) is the main issue which I raised with
> Mitch Resnick (and on this list) last year and wrote a blog summing it up:
> http://billkerr2.blogspot.com/2008/11/scratch-license-disappointment.html
> The last word in the comments on my blog comes from Tom Hofmann:
> "Neither license is a free or open source license. The binary one limits
> modification, the source one limits use and redistribution. They're just
> unfree in different ways."
> So I guess it's really up to the Scratch team at MIT to improve the license
> and their failure to do that has resulted in Sugar Labs downgrading its
> distribution perhaps not consciously but as a "slipping into darkness" event

It's like anything else, things will happen if someone makes it
happen. Sugar Labs is a community and what gets done is because
someone from that community really wanted to get that done.

In this case, I can see Bill or an OLPC users or someone from the
Scratch team uploading a .xo to ASLO. Of course I could do it myself,
but this is not scaling.



>> - Bert -
>> _______________________________________________
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> _______________________________________________
> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
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