[svlug] using linux in schools
William R Ward
bill at wards.net
Mon Mar 31 13:16:31 PST 2003
Bill Kendrick writes:
>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/ )
Ahem! What about Commodore?? :-)
>> - 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
I started around age 10, but that's only because I didn't have access
to a computer any earlier than that. We got a Commodore PET in our
school when I was about 10.
>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
Perl is perfect for this, except that Perl's error messages are so
cryptic. Using the GNU Readline library in combination with Curses
you could go a long way towards achieving what you're talking about
with a very small amount of Perl code.
It might be good to rewrite the "perldiag" page to better suit your
audience, and then "use diagnostics" to load that in.
>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
.. you could do the graphics using Perl/Tk ...
>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!)
... Perl/Tk programs run just fine under all those platforms without
any changes ...
William R Ward bill at wards.net http://www.wards.net/~bill/
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by
little statesmen and philosophers and divines." - Emerson
More information about the svlug