[sugar] Pippy and Calculate

Yoshiki Ohshima yoshiki
Wed Sep 5 03:19:41 EDT 2007

  Hello, Walter,

  Thank you for the comment.

> (1) Especially for young children who are just beginning to read and
> write, imposing Python and its syntax on them is to high of a hurdle
> for accessing a calculator;

  Yes.  But, Pippy can pretend that it is not about Python at first.
The user can type "3+4" into the top pane, and if there is a "Print!"
button, the user would see "7" in the lower pane.  I could imagine to
have number and four basic arithmetic buttons on screen.

> (2) While I love Pippy, it has a long ways to go towards being
> friendly to the uninitiated: there is no debugger, for example; This
> is fine for the purposes for which it was designed, but to use it for
> a general purpose tool is a real stretch;

  This is true.  For example, I think there should be a way to stop a
long running execution (a la keyboard interrupt).

> (3) Reinier has added a very approachable feature set to the latest
> versions of the Calculator Activity: it lets you define variables and
> hence contruct word problems. It isn't a full-blown programmng
> environment, but it is one of many stepping stones for younger
> children.
> I would almost go so far as to agree with Yoshiki that for the more
> advanced calculator features: trig fucntions, etc., we do make the
> leap into Pippy or Etoys, but there is something simple and
> approachable to Reinier's work.

  Gradual progression when a child is learning is something we think
about a lot.  I tend to think that the progression as "removing
fences".  The introductory version shows something simpler, but as the
child learns more, he will be able to access more.  And, I have some
prejudice that to make the progression smoother, it would be nice if
the environment is kept the same, but make the kid realize that these
seemingly different interfaces are just facets are the same thing.

-- Yoshiki

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