Computers and Squeak as Environments for Learning

Computers, although promoted as an all-purpose educational panacea, certainly aren't. The machines do have potential to assist certain learners in specific ways. Computer scientists, software engineers, teachers, parents, and children are using Squeak to explore that potential.1 Some of Squeak’s features are designed (and are being designed) to help non-experts learn programming and to facilitate construction of environments and projects for learning about other subjects.

To promote more thoughtful discussion about computers and learning, and to provide some background before considering Squeak projects, this chapter will begin with general thoughts about children and computers. Part 1 presents some assumptions and persistent misconceptions about computers and learning.