Monday, October 10, 2005

WebReports / ToonTalk


Weblabs runs a WebReports plone site which has developed some game type programs using ToonTalk for creating new ways of representing and expressing mathematical and scientific knowledge. They have developed reports on representing infinity, sequences, collisions, lunar lander and randomness.

ToonTalk is a programming language which tries to represent abstract concepts visually. I played with it years ago and chatted to Ken Kahn on the logo list about it then. It's very interesting and original. One reason I didn't go ahead and use it at school was because of the difficulty of developing worksheets for such a visual program.

An example of the ToonTalk enhancements they added was a way of displaying repeating decimals such as 1/3. The team needed to find a notation for the repeating portion of the number, and a way of avoiding truncation of the decimal expansion portion. “We invented the idea of shrinking digits,” says Noss. “Digits are displayed in gradually decreasing size until they reach the size of a pixel. In this way, the idea that an infinite number of digits follow the decimal point is conveyed visually.”
- from this report

Related blog: marc-prensky

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