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Greetings from EtoysIllinois!

by Kathleen Harness

We are based in the Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Our goal is to see Etoys used fluently by people of all ages at school and at home. is a resource of Etoys projects and classroom applications for learning in science, mathematics, art, social sciences, and language arts. The Library Collection tags make it easy to find projects whether you are interested in algebra, Trigonometry, animations of knots, puzzles and many more topics.

Looking for something to use in class tomorrow? Try the K-5 Technology Passport lessons and projects. They have been revised to use the newest version of Etoys. We hope you will find useful materials here. Inquiries are welcome.

Illinois Summer and Fall 2008 events include:

Etoys for Teachers

Western Illinois University Summer Experience 2008: a conference for teachers to discover current and emerging technologies to enhance student learning. Ji-Young Kim, a UIUC Doctoral candidate in Education, and Elizabeth Slifer, a First Grade teacher, presented an Etoys workshop.

University of Illinois Chancellor's Academy: a professional development partnership between the Champaign and Urbana public schools and the University of Illinois. Kathleen Harness gave teachers a brief introduction to Etoys and curriculum resources.

Illinois Science Teachers Association Conference: Kathleen Harness will present an Etoys workshop.

Etoys for Students

Project Upward Bound: works to increase minority student enrollment at major universities by providing high school students with the academic requirements and skills necessary to compete in a major academic institution. Kathleen Harness taught an Etoys introductory course to students.

Girls Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science (G.A.M.E.S): a week long camp for academically talented middle school girls to explore engineering and scientific fields. Lenny Pitt, UIUC Computer Science, and Kathleen Smith, a UIUC mathematics instructor, taught an Etoys course.

Etoys for Families

One Parent/One Child Team Introduction to Etoys: Saturday Workshops on campus and in local schools designed to show parents how they can use EtoysIllinois materials and projects to help their children become proficient in the use of Etoys at home.

Exploring Etoys in Brazil

by Bruno Sperb

Greetings from Porto Alegre, Brazil. We have been using Etoys since mid-2007 (see students' initial exploration), when the OLPC Project (in Portuguese, Projeto UCA) began. We are working in Escola Luciana de Abreu (see introductory video), a small school of 350 students where students and teachers receive their own XO laptops, and are able to take them home as well.

At present, we are working with small groups in weekly workshops (altough the teachers and students use Etoys on a regular basis). Last month, a group of three girls (fourth grade, 9-10 years old) asked their teacher to have an "Etoys time" (as they called it). They were working on a project titled: "How the Lunar Eclipse Works." They came to the workshop having already drawn drafts by themselves, but were willing to "work on a better presentation to show their teachers and colleagues" (in fourth grade, students present their projects regularly).

We started out talking about their questions, which elicited many additional questions, doubts, and hypotheses: "Does everybody see an eclipse when it occurs?"; "What is the distance between the earth and the moon?"; "What are their differences in size?"; etc. After that, we showed them some ways to use Etoys to enhance their projects. Two of the girls decided to designed an interactive presentation for their classmates. The third girl decided to simulate -- in Etoys -- the interaction of movements among the earth, the moon and the sun. Some of the results of their work are shown below.

Using Etoys allowed the students to challenge their previously-held assumptions about our solar system (especially those relating to relative proportions and movements). They were also proud of their work: R. (9 years) exclaimed, "It looks like a simple drawing, but when you put the cursor on it...surprise!"

Project team, LEC (Laboratorio de Estudos Cognitivos, UFRGS, Brazil) and FPD (Fundacao Pensamento Digital).

Etoys on the XO

by Bert Freudenberg

Since August 2006, some of the team at Viewpoints have been hard at work to port Etoys to the "XO", the little green learning machine. The One Laptop per Child project created hardware and software to enable children in developing countries around the world to learn. Etoys comes pre-installed on all XOs shipped so far, meaning we have several hundred thousand new users.

Not only did we adapt Etoys specifically for the XO, like hooking into its "Journal" data storage system or the collaboration in the XO's "mesh" network, but we also considerably improved Etoys for all platforms. Most noticeably, Etoys does not start with a blank screen anymore. We now include an example project gallery and offer tutorial projects, and there are even "help guides" on more than 50 topics available at the click of a button. Another important improvement is better translation support. Many more phrases were made translatable, and it is much easier to contribute translations so there are many more languages available now. The tile scripting system saw improvements, too. Mathematical expression are evaluated arithmetically correct now, function tiles are available, and there is a "repeat" tile similar to the "test" we always had. The screen can also be scaled to accommodate users of various display sizes.

And finally, since OLPC wants to only ship truly free software, Viewpoints went back to Apple and all the other Squeak community contributors to relicense Squeak. This new release is under an even more permissive license than the original "Squeak license", which prevented some people from using it.

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