August 18, 2013
I have posted a new learning-to-program sandbox at turtlebits.net. It is designed as a modernized "LOGO" friendly for beginning programmers. For example, as a first program you can write simply "fd 100".
As with LOGO in 1967, the goal of TurtleBits in 2013 is No Threshold, No Limit, which means that it is easy enough for kindergarten kids, and yet it scales all the way to professional-level software experimentation and development. The language is Coffeescript plus jQuery plus jquery-turtle, and it runs in any modern browser (Chrome, Firefox, IE10)....
Making Coffeescript Useful for Educators
Here is the background. Coffeescript is almost the ideal learning language. It enjoys:
However, a few additional things are needed for teachers...
I think these gaps can be filled, and so I have been working on several of these pieces.
An Open-Source Library
For the turtle bits, here is an open-source library jquery-turtle (it is a jquery extension). jQuery itself solves most of the difficult usability issues with the standard HTML DOM API, but it does not simplify some of the newer web standards that are relevant to beginners. jQuery-turtle provides turtle access to the canvas API and CSS 2d transforms, as well as simplified access to Web Audio. Turtle animation helps illustrate the progress of programs over time, and the animation integrates nicely with the jQuery fx queue.
An Public Website For Sharing
A Textbook (Being Written)
For the curriculum, I am working on a textbook (ah yes, big promises, but I'm really writing one). The draft goes all the way from the first turtle line to advanced computer science topics like sorting and basic AI, so certainly other books that don't move so quickly will also be needed. That's still work in progress.
For community - well, I'm not sure where to start. Any suggestions?
Anybody interested in helping?Posted by David at August 18, 2013 07:29 AM
If you're still in the test "first" area, just refresh the page. Your (error) version may have been backed up in your local browser. If so, click "Load network copy" and then you will get the original test program from the network instead.
Backups are overwritten whenever you run a program, so if you run this original test version, your (error) backup will be overwritten.
If you want to delete a file within your account, then just delete its contents and save it. Saving an empty file will delete it.
Observations of a 7yo:
1. He expected the editor just to create new blank space at the end for him. So every few minutes I had to come back to the computer and hold the return key to generate some blank lines.
At bedtime, he wanted to continue playing with it.Posted by: RichB at August 19, 2013 03:25 PM
1. Really interesting observation about the blank lines at the end! I have the same problem with my 6yo, but didn't think about how counterintuitive it is to have to press Enter to open up space. I have hooked the ace editor now so that it always tries to make sure there is one empty line at the end. Let me know if it helps for you.
Did you take a look at Kojo: http://www.kogics.net/sf:kojo ? They seem to have some similar goals.Posted by: Cezar at November 1, 2013 12:32 AM
the play method (music) of jquery-turtle only seems to work on chrome, and only the chrome on my Windows OS. All other browsers won't play any sounds for some reason. Is there a particular plugin that a browser needs to have to enable playing sounds?Posted by: Earl at December 6, 2013 08:47 PM
Chrome on both Mac and Windows should work, but "play" depends on WebAudio support, which is an evolving standard. Until the standard stabilizes, there may be uneven support. The compatibility chart here will fill in over time:
Actually, CanIUse is wrong about FF 25. The Mozilla site says it's still in nighlies only:
Also, Safari has webAudio, but they are on an old version of the API that isn't compatible. When Safari updates to the latest WebKit, they will work with Pencil Code audio.Posted by: David at December 9, 2013 07:37 AM
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