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To: <mwforum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: RE: Future developments for MicroWorlds
From: "Burke, Bridget -CKJH" <BRIDGETBU@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 25 May 2007 15:14:34 -0700

I use moodle (Moodle.org) free open source internet based software in my
computer programming class. The kids use moodle to get their
assignments, hand in their assignments and to talk to each other. Moodle
has two features for kids to communicate, a forum like this one and a
chat. We use the forum to ask for help and for reviewing student work.
Moodle is supposed to be able to have kids share files but so far our
techs and myself have not figured this one out. I know it is possible
but the techs are in control of the moodle rights.

I totally agree with you, students are expecting to be able to
communicate with each other. I have a attached a post from our class.  I
think it says it all. 



-----Original Message-----
From: mwforum-admin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:mwforum-admin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Ray
Catzel
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 4:02 AM
To: mwforum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Future developments for MicroWorlds

Earlier this year I gave students a questionnaire to rate the various
activities we did in computer class according to their enjoyment level.
The activities listed were as follows:

Computer Hardware (how the computer works) Opening and Saving files
Programming (commanding the turtle to do things) Making games using
MicroWorlds Robotics (using MicroWorlds) Spreadsheet Word-processing
Graphics and animation Multimedia presentations Inspiration/Kidspiration
Graphics and animation Keyboarding

The MicroWorlds activities were rated highly by most of the students.

One activity that is not listed is "free time" during which the students
were allowed to use the Internet freely (under supervision for "proper"
site selection). If I were to include this I am certain that activities
involving sites such as "Facebook" and "U-tube" would get the top
ratings!

Using this input (LCSI - are you listening?) the favoured activity of
communicating between students should be an area for further
development.
The ability to export or email turtles is a good start and I am
developing some MicroWorlds projects based on this capability.

Any thoughts?

======ray

-----Original Message-----
From: mwforum-admin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:mwforum-admin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Wendy
Petti
Sent: May 24, 2007 2:21 PM
To: mwforum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: Scratch


Our school gained access to Scratch a couple of months ago.  I had
introduced some of my students to MicroWorlds some months ago; a French
teacher introduced all of his students to Scratch and they have had more
time to explore it than MicroWorlds.

As I continued to work with a small group of students on MicroWorlds
after school, one or two of them defected and only wanted to work on
Scratch.
They seemed to find it more fun and user-friendly.  As soon as I
witnessed their excitement and ease in using Scratch, I too began to
wonder if Scratch might be a better programming environment for today's
students.  Just because we as teachers are more familiar and comfortable
with MW doesn't mean that there aren't compelling reasons for us to
consider a switch to a more user-friendly environment for kids.

When it came time to use one of these programming environments to create
some activities for a Math Family Fun Night we are planning, some of the
students wanted to use Scratch.

Snce I am completely unfamiliar with it, I asked them, as we considered
updating a MicroWorlds project that generates random crowds:  "Can
Scratch generate thousands of randomly-placed pictures, selecting
randomly among a collection of shapes, as MicroWorlds can?  Can it keep
and report scores?"
Perhaps they had not familiarized themselves with all of the
capabilities of Scratch, but after I asked my questions, they seemed to
think it would be better to stick with MicroWorlds for that activity.

When another group wanted to produce a Jeopardy game show, I asked more
questions to determine if we could build this game show in Scratch.
Once again, the students who were familiar with both programming
environments seemed to think we would be better off using MicroWorlds.
(Frankly, I still think we might have been better off using a Jeopardy
PowerPoint template!)

I have always liked what is commonly said about Logo, "It has a low
threshold and no ceiling."  It seems that Scratch has an even lower
threshold.  (I found Daniel's examples very compelling.)

But what I'd like to know is: Does Scratch have a ceiling?

Wendy


> Do you think Scratch is a better balance ... for elementary school and
middle school kids?


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