Saturday, July 28, 2007

Squeak Etoys on the OLPC XO

Squeak Etoys on the OLPC XO
written by Alan Kay

This document is a first draft of a summary of Etoys on the One Laptop Per Child XO computer. It will undergo many changes in the next few months. The first official edition is expected by August 2007.

“Like-LOGO”: Scripting that is also mathematics, turtle as a vector
“Like-Hypercard”: WYSIWYG Page oriented UI & Media authoring for presentations, web content, etc.
“Like-Starlogo”: Massively parallel objects
“Like Squeak Smalltalk”: Everything is a dynamic object, multimedia, multiplatform, etc.

Aimed at a wide variety of users and levels of use
  • Is use by many children and adults around the world
  • Good for constructivist learning and teaching
  • Multilingual
  • Self contained and runs on many platforms
  • Both standalone and web-based
  • Integrated multimedia
  • Collaborative
  • Made from many integrated media objects
  • Authorable at all levels from end-user to expert

Etoys is
“Like Logo” – but with costumes, multimedia, etc.
“Like Starlogo” – but at all levels of scale
“Like Hypercard and Powerpoint” – but simpler and richer
“Like Smalltalk” – it is Squeak Smalltalk underneath
“Like itself” – it has special properties that are unique

Etoys was first tested with children in 1997, and has since spread around the world to be used by many children in cultural and language environments. Etoys is multilingual and has been successfully used in USA, Europe, South America, Japan, Korea, India, Nepal, and elsewhere.

The multilingualization is dynamic: languages can be switched on the fly (this can be lluminating for children) and there is a “kit” that aids the introduction of a new language.

Etoys is also “ecumenical”: it runs on more than 20 platforms bitidentically including all of the standard ones, many PDAs and SmartPhones, and on the OLPC XO machine.

Current Languages include:
English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Swahili

Languages in progress include:


sylvia martinez said...

Kind of dense.. who is this document suppposed to be for?

Bill Kerr said...

hi sylvia,

check out the link at the top of the page - the original is attractively laid out with lots of images

I blogged partly it for the thumbnail descriptions of the 4 programs that have influenced the development of Etoys - logo, starlogo, hypercard, squeak smalltalk. It has taken 30 years for these threads to come together to be integrated into the one program. The history, the time scale involved and the ongoing evolution of truly user centric empowering software is worth stressing IMO.

Add this to free, open source software, cross platform, multi-lingual, new inexpensive hardware (OLPC) and we have a totally new environment for the role that computers can play in human development.