Etoys is . . .
* an educational tool for teaching children powerful ideas in compelling ways
* a media-rich authoring environment and visual programming system
* a free software program that works on almost all personal computers
Here you'll find the executive summary of Etoys: what it does, who's behind it, and answers to commonly asked questions.
Children use Etoys to make their own models, stories, and games, which keeps them engaged because it's a lot of fun.
But Etoys isn't just child's play. It's a highly effective way to teach math, science, and language arts, although many children won't realize this.
Instead they'll stay immersed in discovery, reaching eagerly for each new idea, making their lessons more meaningful than with a "face-front" approach.
Young children learn best by experimentation and play. Kids are wired to grasp, drop, stack, and smash the world around them, often without adult encouragement.
Problems start when students are taught things they can't see or touch. Math and grammar are difficult because they're less real than wooden blocks.
Etoys makes abstractions more palpable, allowing children to visualize and explore new ideas.
With Etoys, children can draw their own sketches then bring them to life by writing "scripts" that tell the sketches what to do.
Children can then put sketches and text in digital books with multiple pages, allowing them to create interactive stories to share with the world.
Such sustained creative projects foster a sense of ownership and teach children the value of iterative refinement as they improve their stories over time.
Most schools teach "computer literacy," although this rarely amounts to more than word processing, web browsing, and simple presentations.
Etoys enables genuine computer fluency, allowing students to both read and write the language of the computer.
Scripting requires children to break problems down and make solutions explicit. Results are obvious and immediate, which encourages discovery.