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Re: Logo

Malonowa <malonowa@wanadoo.fr> wrote:
> I think the best thing to do here is to whip the Berkley logo into a good shape for classroom use.

This sounds like the best bet for short-term returns.  The work 
involved is fairly clear and the hardest work is already done in the 
way of the language implementation.  Not having looked through 
the code or having thought it out much, it seems like the hardest 
part would be programming the over-all interface -- editor, turtle 
windows, etc.  Extending the language will probably not be that 

> Topologika has a good turtle graphics implementation called "Desktop screen turtle" as well - I've got
> the source for that somewhere from an old version - It may be easy to port but I'm not sure.

I haven't seen that Logo -- there's no demo on their website -- so I 
don't know what it's like.

> As far as a programming language for edsoft goes, Squeak looks interesting so expect me to pick your
> brains AN AWFUL LOT about this in the near future.
> Ian, can I ask you how you like to program for Linux? GTK, QT etc. Maybe we could get together on a
> project. We need to develop a way for programmers out there to quickly and easily develop software with a
> minimum learning curve. Maybe Squeak is tha answer, maybe logo, maybe TCL/TK, maybe just specific
> libraries in C ontop of GTK. I suspect there's a range of solutions - development proliferates when there
> are good, simple libraries and a software base to begin with.

That's a big area.  What were you thinking about?  Making 
programmers able to move to Linux easily?  Porting programs to 
Linux?  Making new or less experienced programmers more 
productive?  Making the applications people create more 
appropriate for educational use?  Allowing non-programmers to 
create applications?

There's so much involved in this, and so many ways to look at the 
question... Why else are there so many programming languages, 
libraries, programming paradigms, silly diagram-drawing 
methodologies?  Can we add to what's already done, and is being 
done, in any meaningful way?

> People have been talking about the technical merits of various solutions such as hypercard, metacard etc.
> But I don't see much about what would actually be done in terms of content here. Isn't it better to
> discuss content and then decide how it could be implemented? When it comes to the hypercard stuff, pupils
> tend to only need the most basic of tools anyway, little more than a glorified DTP package.

True.  The more I think about this, the more I'm unsure about what 
sort of problem is trying to be answered with this.  

In the HyperStudio community there seems to be a feeling of the 
"HyperStudio philosophy", which is kind of like the "Logo 
philosophy" only directed towards content and expression instead 
of mathematics and algorithms.  But both can feel like a reaction, a 
jubilation over general-purpose tools as opposed to closed 
programs (in the sense Marshal used "closed" -- directed, 

So I know what HyperStudio *isn't* -- but I can't figure out what it 
is.  There *is* a lot of fluff around it, but I can't tell which part is an 
incidental marketing ploy and what's important -- or even if the fluff 
serves an important purpose.

The content created by HyperStudio isn't particularly exceptional, 
but because the content is created *inside* the educational 
environment, the process is equally important.

What's that Logo saying... "no threshold and no ceiling"... just 
because most students make simple text/picture combinations in 
HyperStudio (or HyperCard or whatever) is it still important that 
they be able to do more?

And now that I think about this problem again, I come back to 
HTML.  It's certainly less than ideal in terms of concreteness and 
ability to create dynamic behavior.  It's an adult tool.  Which is 
what makes it so appealing... a kid can make something that's a 
peer (technology-wise) to all the stuff adults do.  A link to a kid's 
page looks just like a link to anybody elses page.  The content will 
still be a kid's content, but it's the content they are supposed to be 
learning, not the technology (at least in the case of HyperStudio-
like activities).

Now I'm feeling kind of excited about it... there's a bunch of really 
neat things that could come together.  The web is one of the most 
democratic forms of communication that currently exist in our 
society.  Not just allowing kids to see it, but allowing them to be 
part of it is to make the web that much more democratic.

And when you can place a child's creation side by side with so 
many other works -- other kid's sites, commercial sites, personal 
sites -- it places the expression in a context that seems to really 
be missing from schools.  Schools make creativity -- from its most 
noble to its most humble aspects -- into some sort of priviledge 
which children earn in pieces, with constant reminders that they 
aren't quite worthy.  "No threshold and no ceiling"... well, there's 
lots of technical issues with HTML and ceilings galore, but it 
doesn't have a social ceiling.  There's no stigma to making 
something that is merely a web page.  HyperStudio, for all its 
success in schools, is still just a program for schools.  It isn't -- 
and will never be -- a tool for adults and professionals.  Some 
people do use it that way --it's technically possible -- but that sort 
of use will always be an exception.

Hmm... so that's my renewed interest in HTML.

Ian Bicking <bickiia@earlham.edu>