[svlug] using linux in schools

Bill Kendrick nbs at sonic.net
Mon Mar 31 12:54:30 PST 2003

On Mon, Mar 31, 2003 at 12:29:06PM -0800, Paul Cubbage wrote:
> Good deeds are hard to do and have results.  I published user software 
> at Atari including about 45 educational packages so I know a little. 
> Some suggestions:

Heh - It's the old Atari & Apple II days that I've been thinking back to
when coming up with ideas for new kids' software.  (See my new "Tux Print"
project:  http://www.newbreedsoftware.com/tuxprint/ )

> - There is a developmental stage starting at around 16 where global 
> concepts start working.    Source code of interesting programs including 
> games are something they'll like.  Packaging it so that the make/compile 
> is easy is a big help.  Of 16 teenage authors, I had only one under 16. 
> I don't think you can get younger ones pogramming but anything you give 
> them that allows them to manipulate the system and get results is a plus 
> for < 16.

I admit I'm kind of geeky, but I started programming BASIC on my Atari back
when I was 7 or 8 years old.  Nothing fabulous, but I got lots of little bits
of things working.  If not very productive, I was at least having a LOT of
fun.  And today, a lot of the game-oriented programming skills I was playing
with are just sitting in my brain, up there with riding a bike, walking, and
breathing. :^)

I've been thinking it would be cool to create a BASIC-like environment,
much like one got back in the days of the 8-bits, where you didn't have

  source + compiler = application

You just had:

  source + type RUN = application


  line of source + hit [Enter] = see the results right now

I've thought of creating a simple environment with its own console-like
display, with BASIC (or similar language) interpreter, and lots of neat
multimedia-style things built in, much like the Atari 8-bit + Atari BASIC had:

  graphics routines

I'm sure something like this has been done elsewhere, but I don't think I've
ever seen anything Open Source.  I'd build it specifically to run for a
variety of platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows, etc.  (You've gotta love SDL!)

> - A major use in schools is just a place to write reports and print 
> them.  Less of a need today in the valley but still a need.

One of my other upcoming projects is "Tux Writer."  It's going to be a
word processor geared towards young children, similar to Tux Paint.

> - If you are building/installing systems, you could pre-load a set of 
> bookmarks that kids will like or find useful,  There are sites that give 
> pointers.  Good places to research and find answers are one group of 
> good bookmarks.

Just make sure they can't edit the bookmarks. :^)

> - TuxPaint is a great program for younger students.  Check out what else 
> is going on at newbreedssoftware.com and at tux4kids.org and 
> http://www.tux4kids.org/cgi-bin/t4k/wiki.pl?Projects

Hey, thanks for the plug! :^)


bill at newbreedsoftware.com                                            Hire me!
http://newbreedsoftware.com/bill/    http://newbreedsoftware.com/bill/resume/

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