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Re: Invitation to visit Disney Imagineering
> Well ... last night, I downloaded the Linux and Windows versions of Squeak,
> and I plan to install them as soon as I finish a couple of current projects.
> I only played with Smalltalk before this, but I find I still have the old
> Digitalk Smalltalk V 286 around, and I know there's a Smalltalk for Linux.
Great! Squeak is very much like Smalltalk-80, so other Smalltalks
you've used will probably look familiar -- especially the older ones.
The ANSI Smalltalk specification only was created less than a year
GNU Smalltalk has been dormant for quite a while. But apparently
someone is working on it again:
GNU Smalltalk might be able to integrate itself with the OS more
than Squeak would want to do, but otherwise I'm not sure what it
offers over Squeak.
> As a preliminary to this investigation, let me raise one threshhold
> question. Are we interested in looking at Squeak as
> a. a development platform for cross-OS educational applications (in
> the style of Java, only, presumably, better)?
> b. a programming environment suitable for teaching programming
> concepts and technigues to K-12 students (in the style of LOGO, only,
> presumably, better)?
> or both?
It could be any number of things. But for any of them there is
some work involved:
a. involves making the system more easily distributed, and
probably a bit better to lock down. The necessary features are
already there, I think, but they need this sort of polish. I think
there's already a lot of people working on this, and just keeping up
with them can be difficult. The Squeak list has very heavy traffic --
I've been trying to keep up with it lately without great success. I
think a strategic use of effort would avoid things that other people
are already very concerned with.
b. involves quite a bit of work. There would have to be some sort of
curriculum developement, because OO programming is a long
ways from Basic, Logo, or Pascal, and the techniques of teaching
with it would probably be a lot different. Even Java allows one to
use it like a procedural language, but that's just not an option in
Smalltalk. Also, there'd have to be some more focusing of the
interface -- the Class library is really large, probably too large for
effective exploration. A few language issues too (like its order of
precedence) make its pedagogical benefit leaving something to ask
Then there's the middle ground, which is where a HyperStudio-ish
program would fit. It's kind of programming with its active content,
but mostly it's about content. There needs to be a framework for
the creation of this content, but it's not a program of itself -- at
some level, you're actually programming Squeak when you are
making something. And though Squeak is, in this case, being
used as a developement platform, it's also being used by students.
Ian Bicking <firstname.lastname@example.org>