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28 April 2008 @ 01:16 pm
Mostly unrelatedly...  
For those of you looking for a "learn to program" environment, you should definitely check out Scratch, from MIT's "Lifelong Kindergarten" group. While Scratch is far from an unrestricted programming setup, it's quite good for putting together graphical and game-type programs. It's amazingly painless to set up and use on both Mac and Windows -- they're working on Linux. It would be my first choice for teaching young kids about programming, even ahead of old standby programs like Adventure Construction Kit and Robot Odyssey from the old days. And its best trick is that once you've got a program working well on your machine, you can upload it to their site and anybody can play it from a Java applet on their web site. Quite a nice touch!

(By the way, in case you recognize the name Robot Odyssey -- it's now been cloned in Java as "Droid Quest", so you can play it on modern hardware. Yay!)
griffjongriffjon on April 28th, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC)
Squeak in its eToys form is a central part of the One Laptop Per Child project, and has various Linux-y flavors (it's running in RedHat, after all) available (mostly via VM) at http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Etoys
Noahangelbob on April 28th, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
Sounds good. I've never used Squeak, only Scratch, though my understanding is that Scratch is based on Squeak.
griffjongriffjon on April 28th, 2008 08:52 pm (UTC)
It's quite the disaster of naming in that whole building. eToys < Scratch < Squeak < smalltalk < LOGO

Or something like that.
Noahangelbob on April 28th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
Ah! It looks like eToys is the default front-end for teaching Squeak, and Scratch is a different front-end, also based on Squeak. Squeak, in turn, is (I'm told) a SmallTalk implementation plus libraries. LOGO isn't really related to those others so much, though.

I should have a look at eToys, too. It looks harder to use, but more advanced.
griffjongriffjon on April 28th, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC)
LOGO is related only thematically as teaching language