Phil Firsenbaum | 1 Apr 20:36 2004
Picon

Re: Squeakland forum

I didn't realize how spoiled we Americans are. Most of us can pretty  
much assume we'll have access to high speed connections at home, work,  
or in between sitting in a Starbucks or in my vehicle with my laptop  
(as long as I'm in Manhattan). Apparently that's not so with our  
friends from abroad.
I'm looking forward to using the forum. In fact, I pushed for its  
inception. Guess we need to learn to be a bit more sensitive. I applaud  
Michael's efforts and hope that a solution to this problem can still be  
found.

Phil

On Mar 29, 2004, at 3:00 PM, squeakland-request@... wrote:

> Send Squeakland mailing list submissions to
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> Today's Topics:
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>    1. Grand opening: squeakland forum (Michael Rueger)
(Continue reading)

Michael Rueger | 2 Apr 19:46 2004

[ANN]

Hi Squeaklanders!

In the current release something snuck in that, during the project 
saving/publishing, asks you if you want to save changes with your project.
Just uploaded a little update that should fix that problem.

Michael
Dreyfuss Pierre-Andre (EDU | 3 Apr 10:42 2004
Picon

RE: Assessment

 Hi,

About 

'Another truly important idea about children which should be part of 
any learning environment, is that different children learn 
differently and for different reasons. Though this seems like an 
unremarkable observation, most learning environments do little to 
nothing to deal with these most important facts. '

Last year I was using ToonTalk with very weak students (12-13 -14 year old,
normal age 12).

I was surprised, after a month,  to hear in the meeeting of the teachers
teaching in this class that some students were the weakers  of the class and
have great difficulties at school.

For me they were the best students.

The I used E-toys with them and they easily transpose notions.
The object's book becomes script viewer and scipts are like description of
the actions of robots.

This year I have these weaks students mixed with others ones for computer
sciences.

Using E-toys  they get very good results (5 or 6 , best note is 6) while
some others with good school results  get 2.5 or 3.

The reason is that  in school most assessments are made  with tests on
(Continue reading)

Doug Wolfgram | 10 Apr 07:56 2004

Computer as Tutor

I was recently introduced to Alfred Bork's papers on 'Computer as Tutor' 
and am getting very interested in his work. He is professor emeritus at UCI 
(U of Cal Irvine) and is starting a company to build large scale 
educational systems spanning preschool through adult education.  I don't 
want to misstate his goals here, but if anyone else has heard of his book, 
'Blowing Learning to Bits', I'd love to hear about it.

I believe that Squeak is the perfect environment for having the 'Computer 
as Tutor'. Are there ay specific papers on this subject, even if by another 
name? Are any of you working on projects where you could stand back and say 
"yes, we designed this because we saw the computer as the tutor?" I don't 
believe that Dr. Bork wants to replace teachers in any way, he is just 
focused on that 'additional' teacher in our lives, technology.

Cheers!

D

_________________________________________

"If you're not in e-business ... you're not in business.."
_________________________________________

Doug Wolfgram
GRAFX Group, Inc.
Cell: 949.433.3641
http://www.gfx.com
Alan Kay | 10 Apr 17:17 2004

Re: Computer as Tutor

Hi Doug --

Al Bork is very well known in this area going all the way back to the 
60s. There is a great old book called "The Computer as Tool, Tutor, 
and Tutee" which contains seminal papers by Bork, Papert, and others.

I couldn't find "Blowing Learning to Bits" on Amazon.

One of the original ideas about all this stuff back in the 60s was 
that some form of AI would develop enough to allow the computer to 
"understand" enough of a subject to be able to gently correct and 
steer. This just didn't happen. Some of the near misses (many done at 
CMU) are quite interesting. Plato (at the U of Illinois) was a huge 
system in the 60s and 70s that did a kind of tutorial on many 
subjects. It's worth studying, but it never got up to what Seymour 
and I thought would be at all reasonable.

There have been some proposals for making a tutorial interface for 
the Squeak Etoys that use a number of techniques to handle the 
detecting and gentle correction of errors. I'm hoping to get at least 
one of these started towards the end of the year.

It would be great to hear from people on this list just what "the 
computer as tutor" means to them.

Cheers,

Alan

At 10:56 PM -0700 4/9/04, Doug Wolfgram wrote:
(Continue reading)

Dave Lowry | 10 Apr 17:32 2004
Picon

Re: Computer as Tutor


On Apr 10, 2004, at 10:17 AM, Alan Kay wrote:

> Hi Doug --
>
> Al Bork is very well known in this area going all the way back to the  
> 60s. There is a great old book called "The Computer as Tool, Tutor,  
> and Tutee" which contains seminal papers by Bork, Papert, and others.
>
> I couldn't find "Blowing Learning to Bits" on Amazon.

I found a draft here:

www.lists.pdx.edu/waoe-views/current/att-0016/ 
Blowing_learning_to_bits.doc

-Dave

_______________________________________________
Squeakland mailing list
Squeakland@...
http://squeakland.org/mailman/listinfo/squeakland
Gary Fisher | 10 Apr 17:40 2004
Picon

Re: Computer as Tutor

Alan & all;

A draft of the paper cited can be found at
http://www.lists.pdx.edu/waoe-views/current/att-0016/Blowing_learning_to_bits.doc.

"The computer as tutor" was a hot topic when I was in college during the
late '60s and early 1970s, and I was peripherally involved in the
development of several experimental "learning laboratories" at the time.
Sadly, "the powers that be" on these projects universally adopted the
hopeless "programmed learning" concept which replaces pedagogy with a dreary
form of mechanized pedantry.

Though it could be done much better now (and could have been done much
better then as well) I lack the imagination to see how genuine understanding
can be imparted to a child by a tutor unable to discern the furrowed brow,
or to cheer the sudden gleam of comprehension.  I'm sure computers have a
proper place in education, but not absent a dedicated educator.

Gary Fisher

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Alan Kay" <Alan.Kay@...>
To: "Doug Wolfgram" <doug@...>; <squeakland <at> squeakland.org>
Sent: Saturday, April 10, 2004 11:17 AM
Subject: Re: [Squeakland] Computer as Tutor

> Hi Doug --
>
> Al Bork is very well known in this area going all the way back to the
> 60s. There is a great old book called "The Computer as Tool, Tutor,
(Continue reading)

Doug Wolfgram | 10 Apr 17:52 2004

Re: Computer as Tutor

****  I'm sure computers have a
proper place in education, but not absent a dedicated educator.

Agreed  - but just look at the face of a child who is immersed in interactive play. Of course, there are numerous studies on how kids who interact primarily with their computer turn out.  Most become socially inept.

Thoughts:

1. One advantage a computer might have over the average human educator is consistency. How often has a child come home from school and said "Mrs. Black was in a bad mood today."?

2. Computers may be useful for filling the time gaps. An educator only has so much time to spend with teaching.

3. Computers may offer broader knowledge than single teachers in the lower grades. Hardly any teachers I know in K-6 are experts in everything. That's one of the reasons I chose to send my child to a school that has college-like specialty areas for disciplines such as music, art, computers, science and language -- even in their K-5 program.

FWIW ... I don't want to replace teachers and we don't need to go down that path.  I don't think members of this group are interested in replacing teachers with computers. But we ARE interested in using technology to supplement education and more importantly, to implement new paradigms that may offer a better education overall.

D

_______________________________________________
Squeakland mailing list
Squeakland@...
http://squeakland.org/mailman/listinfo/squeakland
Alan Kay | 10 Apr 20:19 2004

Re: Computer as Tutor

Hi Gary --

Where is the furrowed brow or the cheer for comprehension in a 
printed book? I don't think you can get rid of the dedicated educator 
(and I don't want to), but I learned a very large part of what I 
think about from reading well written and not so well written papers 
and books. And, I would also say that a good book beats the average 
not-so-good and not-so-dedicated educator hands down if one has 
gotten fluent in reading and learning from prose.

So, I think there is a very important role for much better computer 
tutors than we now have. For example, today one could really do such 
an intermediary for playing a musical instrument -- especially for 
classical music.
      An interesting setup would be to see one's human teacher about 
once a week and be able to practice all week with one's "practice 
helper". The state of the art is high for computers being able to 
flexibly listen to music, to follow the human player's changes of 
tempo, to note various kinds of phrasing, etc., and would be 
especially useful for practicing chamber music where the computer 
takes the other parts in a flexible manner.
      Of course, this would not at all replace playing the piece with 
human players -- computers don't and won't feel music (at least not 
in my lifetime) -- but musicians use metronomes quite a bit of the 
time when they are practicing, and a flexible computer rendition of 
the other parts beats a metronome any time.

The reason this works for music (especially classical music) is that 
many (but not all) of the important goals can be characterized well 
enough for the computer to notice what is going on, and also quite a 
bit of what it means to be flexible about these goals also can be 
characterized. Once you decide to use it for practice and not 
performance, you've found a sweet spot where most of the computer 
involvement is overwhelmingly positive.

We can constrast this with programming (which is a bit more like 
creative writing). There have been several computer tutors for 
teaching programming, and even the best one's I've seen feel 
crushingly oppressive (basically like a bad teacher with Skinner box 
approach to teaching). In one of the earliest etoy classes with 20 
children, in one of their "figure this problem out for yourself" 
sessions (creating a road and a car that will drive down the center 
of it) we got at least 7 distinct workable solutions to this, 2 of 
them extremely elegant.
      Now, it's easy in this case to imagine a computer tutor that 
could watch to see if the car did indeed stay on the road, but right 
now, giving good advice about what the children actually did do 
(instead of trying to get them to do a mythical "standard good 
solution" (which I hate)) is beyond what anyone knows how to do with 
a computer tutor.

But there is one area in which a really great job can be done, and 
this is on some "nugget of goodness" (especially in the beginnings of 
learning) in which "everything is known". For example, the "Drive a 
Car" project is an excellent way to start learning etoys. There are 
about 30+ things that are learned, there are quite a variety of 
routes, and there are lots of known snarls that beginners need help 
with. Years ago there was a tutor for positional notation subtraction 
that really worked extremely well, and this was because the designers 
made a net of every possible route the kids could take and every 
possible bug they could encounter.
      This works on a 15-30 minute project that is deemed important, 
but is much too much work and much more difficult in other ways for 
even a weeks or months long set of ideas.

  So one of the things that I think would be interesting to do, and 
that would help people all over, would be to simply do such a brute 
force but nicely flexible job on "the first experience with etoys". 
Most people finding this stuff on the net don't have your "dedicated 
educator"s to ask for help, so a computer tutor that was "pretty darn 
good" just to get people well started would be a tremendous aid all 
over the world.

Cheers,

Alan

At 11:40 AM -0400 4/10/04, Gary Fisher wrote:
>Alan & all;
>
>A draft of the paper cited can be found at
>http://www.lists.pdx.edu/waoe-views/current/att-0016/Blowing_learning_to_bits.doc.
>
>"The computer as tutor" was a hot topic when I was in college during the
>late '60s and early 1970s, and I was peripherally involved in the
>development of several experimental "learning laboratories" at the time.
>Sadly, "the powers that be" on these projects universally adopted the
>hopeless "programmed learning" concept which replaces pedagogy with a dreary
>form of mechanized pedantry.
>
>Though it could be done much better now (and could have been done much
>better then as well) I lack the imagination to see how genuine understanding
>can be imparted to a child by a tutor unable to discern the furrowed brow,
>or to cheer the sudden gleam of comprehension.  I'm sure computers have a
>proper place in education, but not absent a dedicated educator.
>
>Gary Fisher
>
>
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Alan Kay" <Alan.Kay@...>
>To: "Doug Wolfgram" <doug@...>; <squeakland <at> squeakland.org>
>Sent: Saturday, April 10, 2004 11:17 AM
>Subject: Re: [Squeakland] Computer as Tutor
>
>
>>  Hi Doug --
>>
>>  Al Bork is very well known in this area going all the way back to the
>>  60s. There is a great old book called "The Computer as Tool, Tutor,
>>  and Tutee" which contains seminal papers by Bork, Papert, and others.
>>
>>  I couldn't find "Blowing Learning to Bits" on Amazon.
>>
>>  One of the original ideas about all this stuff back in the 60s was
>>  that some form of AI would develop enough to allow the computer to
>>  "understand" enough of a subject to be able to gently correct and
>>  steer. This just didn't happen. Some of the near misses (many done at
>>  CMU) are quite interesting. Plato (at the U of Illinois) was a huge
>>  system in the 60s and 70s that did a kind of tutorial on many
>>  subjects. It's worth studying, but it never got up to what Seymour
>>  and I thought would be at all reasonable.
>>
>>  There have been some proposals for making a tutorial interface for
>>  the Squeak Etoys that use a number of techniques to handle the
>>  detecting and gentle correction of errors. I'm hoping to get at least
>>  one of these started towards the end of the year.
>>
>>  It would be great to hear from people on this list just what "the
>>  computer as tutor" means to them.
>>
>>  Cheers,
>>
>>  Alan
>>
>>  At 10:56 PM -0700 4/9/04, Doug Wolfgram wrote:
>>  >I was recently introduced to Alfred Bork's papers on 'Computer as
>>  >Tutor' and am getting very interested in his work. He is professor
>>  >emeritus at UCI (U of Cal Irvine) and is starting a company to build
>>  >large scale educational systems spanning preschool through adult
>>  >education.  I don't want to misstate his goals here, but if anyone
>>  >else has heard of his book, 'Blowing Learning to Bits', I'd love to
>>  >hear about it.
>>  >
>>  >I believe that Squeak is the perfect environment for having the
>>  >'Computer as Tutor'. Are there ay specific papers on this subject,
>>  >even if by another name? Are any of you working on projects where
>>  >you could stand back and say "yes, we designed this because we saw
>>  >the computer as the tutor?" I don't believe that Dr. Bork wants to
>>  >replace teachers in any way, he is just focused on that 'additional'
>>  >teacher in our lives, technology.
>>  >
>>  >Cheers!
>>  >
>>  >D
>>  >
>>  >
>>  >_________________________________________
>>  >
>>  >"If you're not in e-business ... you're not in business.."
>>  >_________________________________________
>>  >
>>  >Doug Wolfgram
>>  >GRAFX Group, Inc.
>>  >Cell: 949.433.3641
>>  >http://www.gfx.com
>>  >
>>  >
>>  >
>>  >
>>  >_______________________________________________
>>  >Squeakland mailing list
>>  >Squeakland@...
>>  >http://squeakland.org/mailman/listinfo/squeakland
>>
>>
>>  --
>>  _______________________________________________
>>  Squeakland mailing list
>>  Squeakland@...
>>  http://squeakland.org/mailman/listinfo/squeakland
>
>_______________________________________________
>Squeakland mailing list
>Squeakland@...
>http://squeakland.org/mailman/listinfo/squeakland

--

-- 
Gary Fisher | 10 Apr 22:38 2004
Picon

Re: Computer as Tutor

Greetings, Alan!

I happily concede that certainly at the most fundamental "flash card" level
a computer tutor would be fairly trivial to set up yet potentially quite
effective.  With etoys it could even quite easily be made fun.  The same is
true of your "musical basics" example, and could be (and likely has been)
extended to everything from bird identification to basic anatomy.  On these
matters we're on the same wavelength (of course, I'm riding in the wake of a
wave you and others created).

Further, you're exactly right that a good book beats a bad educator, once
one is able to appreciate the former, though a GOOD educator will greatly
enhance the student's understanding of even bad books.

Again in agreement, you can't get rid of the dedicated educator, and it is
that possibility -- the automation of education -- that concerns me most.
Technology used to enhance learning and multiply the effect of good teachers
is the achievable ideal, but the reality has often been focused instead on
cutting costs, on replacing the pastry chef with a cookie cutter, to use a
metaphor.  That would be tragic.

All the best,

Gary

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Alan Kay" <Alan.Kay@...>
To: "Gary Fisher" <squeakland@...>; <squeakland <at> squeakland.org>
Sent: Saturday, April 10, 2004 2:19 PM
Subject: Re: [Squeakland] Computer as Tutor

> Hi Gary --
>
> Where is the furrowed brow or the cheer for comprehension in a
> printed book? I don't think you can get rid of the dedicated educator
> (and I don't want to), but I learned a very large part of what I
> think about from reading well written and not so well written papers
> and books. And, I would also say that a good book beats the average
> not-so-good and not-so-dedicated educator hands down if one has
> gotten fluent in reading and learning from prose.
>
> So, I think there is a very important role for much better computer
> tutors than we now have. For example, today one could really do such
> an intermediary for playing a musical instrument -- especially for
> classical music.
>       An interesting setup would be to see one's human teacher about
> once a week and be able to practice all week with one's "practice
> helper". The state of the art is high for computers being able to
> flexibly listen to music, to follow the human player's changes of
> tempo, to note various kinds of phrasing, etc., and would be
> especially useful for practicing chamber music where the computer
> takes the other parts in a flexible manner.
>       Of course, this would not at all replace playing the piece with
> human players -- computers don't and won't feel music (at least not
> in my lifetime) -- but musicians use metronomes quite a bit of the
> time when they are practicing, and a flexible computer rendition of
> the other parts beats a metronome any time.
>
> The reason this works for music (especially classical music) is that
> many (but not all) of the important goals can be characterized well
> enough for the computer to notice what is going on, and also quite a
> bit of what it means to be flexible about these goals also can be
> characterized. Once you decide to use it for practice and not
> performance, you've found a sweet spot where most of the computer
> involvement is overwhelmingly positive.
>
> We can constrast this with programming (which is a bit more like
> creative writing). There have been several computer tutors for
> teaching programming, and even the best one's I've seen feel
> crushingly oppressive (basically like a bad teacher with Skinner box
> approach to teaching). In one of the earliest etoy classes with 20
> children, in one of their "figure this problem out for yourself"
> sessions (creating a road and a car that will drive down the center
> of it) we got at least 7 distinct workable solutions to this, 2 of
> them extremely elegant.
>       Now, it's easy in this case to imagine a computer tutor that
> could watch to see if the car did indeed stay on the road, but right
> now, giving good advice about what the children actually did do
> (instead of trying to get them to do a mythical "standard good
> solution" (which I hate)) is beyond what anyone knows how to do with
> a computer tutor.
>
> But there is one area in which a really great job can be done, and
> this is on some "nugget of goodness" (especially in the beginnings of
> learning) in which "everything is known". For example, the "Drive a
> Car" project is an excellent way to start learning etoys. There are
> about 30+ things that are learned, there are quite a variety of
> routes, and there are lots of known snarls that beginners need help
> with. Years ago there was a tutor for positional notation subtraction
> that really worked extremely well, and this was because the designers
> made a net of every possible route the kids could take and every
> possible bug they could encounter.
>       This works on a 15-30 minute project that is deemed important,
> but is much too much work and much more difficult in other ways for
> even a weeks or months long set of ideas.
>
>   So one of the things that I think would be interesting to do, and
> that would help people all over, would be to simply do such a brute
> force but nicely flexible job on "the first experience with etoys".
> Most people finding this stuff on the net don't have your "dedicated
> educator"s to ask for help, so a computer tutor that was "pretty darn
> good" just to get people well started would be a tremendous aid all
> over the world.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Alan
>
> At 11:40 AM -0400 4/10/04, Gary Fisher wrote:
> >Alan & all;
> >
> >A draft of the paper cited can be found at
>
>http://www.lists.pdx.edu/waoe-views/current/att-0016/Blowing_learning_to_bi
ts.doc.
> >
> >"The computer as tutor" was a hot topic when I was in college during the
> >late '60s and early 1970s, and I was peripherally involved in the
> >development of several experimental "learning laboratories" at the time.
> >Sadly, "the powers that be" on these projects universally adopted the
> >hopeless "programmed learning" concept which replaces pedagogy with a
dreary
> >form of mechanized pedantry.
> >
> >Though it could be done much better now (and could have been done much
> >better then as well) I lack the imagination to see how genuine
understanding
> >can be imparted to a child by a tutor unable to discern the furrowed
brow,
> >or to cheer the sudden gleam of comprehension.  I'm sure computers have a
> >proper place in education, but not absent a dedicated educator.
> >
> >Gary Fisher
> >
> >
> >----- Original Message -----
> >From: "Alan Kay" <Alan.Kay@...>
> >To: "Doug Wolfgram" <doug@...>; <squeakland <at> squeakland.org>
> >Sent: Saturday, April 10, 2004 11:17 AM
> >Subject: Re: [Squeakland] Computer as Tutor
> >
> >
> >>  Hi Doug --
> >>
> >>  Al Bork is very well known in this area going all the way back to the
> >>  60s. There is a great old book called "The Computer as Tool, Tutor,
> >>  and Tutee" which contains seminal papers by Bork, Papert, and others.
> >>
> >>  I couldn't find "Blowing Learning to Bits" on Amazon.
> >>
> >>  One of the original ideas about all this stuff back in the 60s was
> >>  that some form of AI would develop enough to allow the computer to
> >>  "understand" enough of a subject to be able to gently correct and
> >>  steer. This just didn't happen. Some of the near misses (many done at
> >>  CMU) are quite interesting. Plato (at the U of Illinois) was a huge
> >>  system in the 60s and 70s that did a kind of tutorial on many
> >>  subjects. It's worth studying, but it never got up to what Seymour
> >>  and I thought would be at all reasonable.
> >>
> >>  There have been some proposals for making a tutorial interface for
> >>  the Squeak Etoys that use a number of techniques to handle the
> >>  detecting and gentle correction of errors. I'm hoping to get at least
> >>  one of these started towards the end of the year.
> >>
> >>  It would be great to hear from people on this list just what "the
> >>  computer as tutor" means to them.
> >>
> >>  Cheers,
> >>
> >>  Alan
> >>
> >>  At 10:56 PM -0700 4/9/04, Doug Wolfgram wrote:
> >>  >I was recently introduced to Alfred Bork's papers on 'Computer as
> >>  >Tutor' and am getting very interested in his work. He is professor
> >>  >emeritus at UCI (U of Cal Irvine) and is starting a company to build
> >>  >large scale educational systems spanning preschool through adult
> >>  >education.  I don't want to misstate his goals here, but if anyone
> >>  >else has heard of his book, 'Blowing Learning to Bits', I'd love to
> >>  >hear about it.
> >>  >
> >>  >I believe that Squeak is the perfect environment for having the
> >>  >'Computer as Tutor'. Are there ay specific papers on this subject,
> >>  >even if by another name? Are any of you working on projects where
> >>  >you could stand back and say "yes, we designed this because we saw
> >>  >the computer as the tutor?" I don't believe that Dr. Bork wants to
> >>  >replace teachers in any way, he is just focused on that 'additional'
> >>  >teacher in our lives, technology.
> >>  >
> >>  >Cheers!
> >>  >
> >>  >D
> >>  >
> >>  >
> >>  >_________________________________________
> >>  >
> >>  >"If you're not in e-business ... you're not in business.."
> >>  >_________________________________________
> >>  >
> >>  >Doug Wolfgram
> >>  >GRAFX Group, Inc.
> >>  >Cell: 949.433.3641
> >>  >http://www.gfx.com
> >>  >
> >>  >
> >>  >
> >>  >
> >>  >_______________________________________________
> >>  >Squeakland mailing list
> >>  >Squeakland@...
> >>  >http://squeakland.org/mailman/listinfo/squeakland
> >>
> >>
> >>  --
> >>  _______________________________________________
> >>  Squeakland mailing list
> >>  Squeakland@...
> >>  http://squeakland.org/mailman/listinfo/squeakland
> >
> >_______________________________________________
> >Squeakland mailing list
> >Squeakland@...
> >http://squeakland.org/mailman/listinfo/squeakland
>
>
> --

Gmane