[IAEP] [fonc] Barbarians at the gate! (Project Nell)
alan.nemo at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 14 12:54:24 EDT 2012
This seems like a plan that should be done and tried and carefully evaluated. I think the approach is good. It could be "not quite enough" to work, but it should give rise to a lot of useful information for further passes at this.
1. Psychologist O.K. Moore in the early 60s at Yale and elsewhere pioneered the idea of a "talking typewriter" to help children learn how to read via learning to write. This was first a grad student in a closet with a microphone simulating a smart machine -- but later the Edison division of McGraw-Hill made a technology that did some of these things.
The significance of Moore's work is that he really thought things through, both with respect to what such a curriculum might be, but also to the nature of the whole environment made for the child.
He first defined a *responsive environment* as one that:
a. permits learners to explore freely
b. informs learners immediately about the consequences of their actions
c. is self-pacing, i.e. events happen within the environment at a rate determined by the learner
d. permits the learners to make full use of their capacities to discover relations of various kinds
e. has a structure such that learners are likely to make a series of interconnected discoveries about the physical, cultural or social world
He called a responsive environment: “*autotelic*, if engaging in it is done for its own sake rather than for obtaining rewards or avoiding punishments that have no inherent connection with the activity itself”. By “discovery” he meant “gently guided discovery” in the sense of Montessori, Vygotsky, Bruner and Papert (i.e. recognizing that it is very difficult for human beings to come up with good ideas from scratch—hence the need for forms of guidance—but that things are learned best if the learner puts in the effort to make the final connections themselves—hence the need for forms of discovery.
The many papers from this work greatly influenced the thinking about personal computing at Xerox PARC in the 70s. Here are a couple:
-- O. K. Moore, Autotelic Responsive Environments and Exceptional Children, Experience, Structure and Adaptabilty (ed. Harvey), Springer, 1966
-- Anderson and Moore, Autotelic Folk Models, Sociological Quarterly, 1959
2. Separating out some of the programming ideas here:
a. Simplest one is that the most important users of this system are the children, so it would be a better idea to make the tile scripting look as easy for them as possible. I don't agree with the rationalization in the paper about "preserving the code reading skills of existing programmers".
b. Good idea to go all the way to the bottom with the children's language.
c. Figure 2 introduces another -- at least equally important language -- in my opinion, this one should be made kid usable and programmable -- and I would try to see how it could fit with the TS language in some way.
d. There is another language -- AIML -- introduced for recognizing things. I would use something much nicer, easier, more readable, etc., -- like OMeta -- or more likely I would go way back to the never implemented Smalltalk-71 (which had these and some of the above features in its design and also tried to be kid usable) -- and try to make a version that worked (maybe too hard to do in general or for the scope of this project, but you can see why it would be nice to have all of the mechanisms that make your system work be couched in kid terms and looks and feels if possible).
3. It's out of the scope of your paper and these comments to discuss "getting kids to add other structures besides stories and narrative to think with". You have to start with stories, and that is enough for now. A larger scale plan (you may already have) would involve a kind of weaning process to get kids to add non-story thinking (as is done in math and science, etc.) to their skills. This is a whole curriculum of its own.
I make these comments because I think your project is a good idea, on the right track, and needs to be done
> From: C. Scott Ananian <cscott at laptop.org>
>To: IAEP SugarLabs <iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org>
>Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 4:07 PM
>Subject: [IAEP] Barbarians at the gate! (Project Nell)
>I read the following today:
>"A healthy [project] is, confusingly, one at odds with itself. There is a healthy part which is attempting to normalize and to create predictability, and there needs to be another part that is tasked with building something new that is going to disrupt and eventually destroy that normality." (http://www.randsinrepose.com/archives/2012/03/13/hacking_is_important.html)
>So, in this vein, I'd like to encourage Sugar-folk to read the short paper Chris Ball, Michael Stone, and I just submitted (to IDC 2012) on Nell, our design for XO-3 software for the reading project:
>You're expected not to like it: this is supposed to be the Barbarian viewpoint. ;-) Regardless, I've love to hear feedback on what exactly you didn't like, so that I can improve the arguments for the final published version (assuming the paper gets accepted). Thanks!
> ( http://cscott.net )
>IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
>IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the IAEP