[IAEP] Etoys or Scratch?

Caryl Bigenho cbigenho at hotmail.com
Mon Mar 5 22:33:45 EST 2012

Hi All... 
FYI. I was a disaster volunteer with the ARC for 10+ years until I got too involved with OLPC.  I no longer have the time for things like going on extended (3-weeks minimum) deployments.  As part of my volunteer work I was a disaster preparedness instructor. I am very aware of their policies and regulations and see no problem with this proposed project.  I did not plan to use their name and/or materials. We will "reverse engineer" them (think Linux vs Unix).
This project would be meeting 2 needs: 1) The need for a "simple-and-fun-to-do" introduction to programming activity for upper elementary and middle school young people and 2) The need for a computer-based (offline) disaster preparedness activity for young people to go along with a disaster network Contributors Program project that is in the planning stages.
We would be using something similar the what the ARC uses in its classes and literature: http://rdcrss.org/KNUMO

I am not here to discuss the merits of doing this.  All I asked was would it be more appropriate to have the youth use use Etoys or Scratch and why.
Thanks to those of you who have answered that question.  It is really appreciated. If others have helpful suggestions about the programming aspects of this proposed project, I would welcome them.
From: greenfeld at laptop.org
Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2012 20:01:41 -0500
Subject: Re: [IAEP] Etoys or Scratch?
To: droujkova at gmail.com
CC: cbigenho at hotmail.com; iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org; support-gang at laptop.org

Note that I did not state that professional programmers had to do this, although the way various states are leaning, licensed professional programmers may be required to do something like this in the United States within the next few years.

I spent roughly 10 years doing volunteer ARES/RACES/emergency communications work.   And from that work I know that practices vary by region, and tend to change over time.

With disasters, there can be more misinformation than real information.  I clearly remember one of the major cable news networks cutting away from a news conference after the September 11 attacks.  The mayor of New York was asking people not to spread rumors.  What was the news station breaking out of the press conference to report?  A rumor, which they actually said was a rumor.

Now I do not know who this guide is targeted for.  Different regions of the world tend to encounter different disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, landslides, etc.).  And each targeted country may also have specific information relevant to it.

If this guide just repeats information found in various reputable sources, that may be safe, regardless of who makes it.  But reputation can sometimes be a tricky thing to judge.

On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 7:31 PM, Maria Droujkova <droujkova at gmail.com> wrote:

I am very concerned about undue professionalization of every aspect of the life, versus the maker/DIY/crowdsourcing approach. 
Kids need to share their very imperfect ideas about serious life issues - disasters, health, parenting, science... They need to share openly, and in a space where discussion can happen. They also need to learn to check and re-check anything they see in open spaces. 

Maria Droujkova

Make math your own, to make your own math


On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 7:27 PM, Samuel Greenfeld <greenfeld at laptop.org> wrote:

Although I cannot recommend a platform, I recommend being highly cautious about who generates and who edits material for a program which teaches disaster preparedness.  Legal disclaimers will not be able to protect the author(s) if the information is blatantly incorrect, or even slightly misinterpreted.

Even the experts cannot always agree about what is best and the best way to present it.  For a United States based example, compare www.ready.gov & www.reallyready.org.

On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 6:27 PM, Maria Droujkova <droujkova at gmail.com> wrote:

I would not use these programs. I would actually use Prezi. The simple answer to "Why" is the professional look of end product. Scratch and Etoys apps look childish (on purpose!!!) - like their names imply, the idea is to mess and play with things.   I just would not take disaster preparedness info seriously if it were presented in such way. 

However, if you are thinking specifically about GAMES about disasters (and humor), I would go with Scratch. Mostly because of the ease of upload and remix, and large user base.


Maria Droujkova

Make math your own, to make your own math


On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 1:22 PM, Caryl Bigenho <cbigenho at hotmail.com> wrote:

Hi Folks…

If you were going to build an educational piece about disaster preparedness for possible cross platform worldwide distribution would you prefer to do it in Scratch or Etoys and why?

The end product would need to be able to have animation, sound, possible narration, interaction and all that sort of thing. The text and sound in the end product would be translated into many target languages. The project might be done by youth with little or no prior programming experience.

I am tending toward Scratch because it is easier to get started and I really like the ease and quality of animation and the sound capabilities.

What do you all think?  And please, no simple "+1"s. I am very interested in the "whys".



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

IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org


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