[IAEP] Etoys, is it difficult or easy?

Alan Kay alan.nemo at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 27 13:28:38 EDT 2010

Hi Caroline,

I think this is a good observation. And it's interesting because Etoys and 
Scratch were both done on top of Squeak, and by some of the same people. 
Originally Etoys was aimed at 5th graders and Scratch at high schoolers who 
dropped into afternoon computer clubs. There is a lot of overlap, and some 
important differences.

The original Etoy interface was set up more like the current Scratch one (using 
lots of the screen to show tools and having a small construction area). This 
changed when we started working in schools with teachers and materials (this 
allowed a less immediately visible UI to be used and the entire screen to be 
used for construction). We stayed with this because of the small size of the 
XO's screen. But I don't think there's any question that the current Scratch 
interface is much much better for new users "off the street" if you have a large 
enough screen or can use iPad like scaling.

And I think despite the small size of the XO, that we should have gone back to a 
much more visible interface for it and for general use as gotten from the web 

There is much to be learned from both systems.



From: Caroline Meeks <caroline at solutiongrove.com>
To: Edward Cherlin <echerlin at gmail.com>
Cc: Cherry Withers <cwithers at ekindling.org>; Tim McNamara 
<paperless at timmcnamara.co.nz>; danielgastelu at yahoo.com.ar; Gerald Ardito 
<gerald.ardito at gmail.com>; Steve Thomas <stevesargon at gmail.com>; iaep 
<iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org>
Sent: Mon, September 27, 2010 9:21:16 AM
Subject: Re: [IAEP] Etoys, is it difficult or easy?

Gerald did some interesting work last year introducing both Scratch and eToys to 
5th and 8th graders.

Gerald please correct me if I am misremembering.

I think the results were the 8th graders took to Scratch more and the 5th 
graders took to eToys more.

Our hypothesis is that the first thing you do with eToys in draw and that is 
very accessible to 5th graders. They can engage with the system before they have 
to start understanding programming. 

On the other hand 8th graders were directly ready to engage with programming and 
had a easier/faster time picking that up with Scratch.

This is very much a hypothesis, not proven and not based on much data but it 
would be interesting to explore further.

On Sun, Sep 26, 2010 at 12:22 AM, Edward Cherlin <echerlin at gmail.com> wrote:

OK, I'll send it to you separately. Anybody else is still welcome to join in.
>On Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 20:47, Steve Thomas <stevesargon at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Edward,
>> Thanks, please send me the outline and what you think needs to be more
>> "easily discoverable" and I will work on it.
>> Stephen
>> On Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 6:06 PM, Edward Cherlin <echerlin at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> It is true that you can do all of these things in EToys, if you know
>>> where to start. It is also true that the start screen of EToys could
>>> be improved by providing a path to each of them, and to other
>>> education modules, and Etoys could be improved with a few more
>>> introductory modules.
>>> Since children and untrained teachers cannot be expected to discover
>>> these paths, and paths in other Activities, on their own, I am in the
>>> middle of writing a guide to Discovery on the XO. The starting point
>>> is my Wiki page,
>>> http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/The_Undiscoverable
>>> http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Sugar_on_a_Stick
>>> The undiscoverable  is an unofficial FAQ for tips, tricks, and
>>> solutions to common problems that may otherwise be tricky to find.
>>> These are being considered for inclusion in the official SoaS
>>> documentation.
>>> The Etoys section needs vast expansion. I have an outline in mind,
>>> which I can share with anybody who would like to work on it.
>>> On Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 15:59, Tim McNamara <paperless at timmcnamara.co.nz>
>>> wrote:
>>> > The analogy doesn't quite fit, as it's possible to do complex things in
>>> > all
>>> > of those tools and it's easy to do simple things in EToys. Each Activity
>>> > can
>>> > be used in this learning model, e.g. training wheels to motorbike.
>>> >
>>> > Tim
>>> >
>>> > On 25 September 2010 05:48, Cherry Withers <cwithers at ekindling.org>
>>> > wrote:
>>> >>
>>> >> And Scratch? ... don't remember where I read it,  but it sounded
>>> >> logical
>>> >> to me.
>>> >> Use progressively difficult tools for progressively difficult tasks.
>>> >> To confirm this statement,  I add the phrase: "Visible learning,
>>> >> invisible
>>> >> technology".
>>> >> Children would first learn TurtleArt.
>>> >> When they outgrow it switch to Scratch.
>>> >> When all its possibilities are exhausted, continue with eToys.
>>> >
>>> > _______________________________________________
>>> > IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
>>> > IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
>>> > http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/iaep
>>> >
>>> --
>>> Edward Mokurai (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) Cherlin
>>> Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
>>> The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.
>>> http://www.earthtreasury.org/
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
>>> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
>>> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/iaep
>Edward Mokurai (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) Cherlin
>Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
>The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.
>IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
>IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org

Caroline Meeks
Solution Grove
Caroline at SolutionGrove.com

617-500-3488 - Office
505-213-3268 - Fax

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