March 25, 2005

ToonTalk’s Playful Mathland

by Nick Montfort · , 2:15 pm

ToonTalk screenshot Ken Kahn just spoke at Penn about his system ToonTalk, a Windows programming environment for children (and others) which provides facilities for developing graphical computer games. His talk was “Learning using concrete virtual analogs of powerful abstractions: Lessons from ToonTalk, Playground, and WebLabs” — slides are online in HTML. Khan distinguished the reasons that Seymour Papert, Alan Kay, and others might have for arguing for advocating what Michael calls procedural literacy, although he noted that all are clearly allies in looking beyond the current curriculum to try to allow students a better understanding of computational thinking.

ToonTalk is definitely a sort of mathland (as Papert called the place) or programmingland in which there are concrete representations of mathematical objects, and students can create animated representations of functions and procedures. ToonTalk is payware, but trial/beta versions can be downloaded for free.