"Twenty Things to Do with a Computer" Revisited

I'm pretty sure that "x" should be a "cks".

Does this count?
Snap! 6.9.2 Build Your Own Blocks

That sounds interesting; are there any projects that do this? (that you know of)

Sure! Here:


  • Spice up your photos with your own graphic effects
  • Turn your voice into that of a giant / mouse / monster
  • Make a magic mirror
  • Turn your name into colors
  • Hide a secret in a song / picture
  • Make a weather / CO2 / air quality / tidal map
  • Make a painting entirely with dice


  • Making animations with interactive parameters.


  • Church numerals
  • Solving logic puzzles


  • Drawing patterns with math, especially
    • graphing complex functions like Binet's formula
    • this


Did the newline count to the 5 letters? Or the exclamation point?

The !, I suppose.

Apparently that is it.

OK but let's not steal the thread.

One thing that might not have been anticipated fifty years ago is the extent to which adults continue to enjoy using tools like Snap! throughout their lives. Contributions from the Snap! forum appear to come from participants from a wide range of ages. This also seems to be true for related user communities like the TurtleStitch discussions.

The success of a school orchestra is not measured by the number of students who go on to play in professional orchestras. Similarly, the success of a student drama or school play is not judged by the number of participants who go on to become professional actors. Rather, an important rationale for inclusion in the curriculum is lifelong enrichment. Yet the language around programming and coding often focuses on workforce development – the need for workers in STEM fields and the need to remain competitive as a nation. As a result, a significant percentage of federal funding in these areas is directed to STEM fields.

Is there a case to be made for coding as a lifelong recreational pursuit similar to the benefits of participation in community music and theater activities? The same qualities that make Snap! effective as an educational programming environment also make it attractive for recreational activities. Recreation in this instance might be described that anything done for personal enjoyment that is not dictated by school or work. Many – if not the majority – of activities discussed on the Snap! forum likely fall into this category.

A list of “Twenty Things to Do with Snap!” that include activities for a wide range of age groups and capabilities – from novice to experienced users – seems more interesting and useful. I personally would vote for casting a wide net even if the focus of the original paper was narrower. Diversity in a list is better if the goal is to stimulate and provoke thought. Ideally the current list is inspired by the original Twenty Things paper but not constrained by it.

"Authors include Cynthia Solomon, Sugata Mitra, Conrad Wolfram, Audrey Watters, David Thornburg, Yasmin Kafai, Dale Dougherty, Nettrice Gaskins, Dan Lynn Watt, Molly Lynn Watt, Gary Stager, Artemis Papert, Stephen Heppell, along with forty other brilliant thinkers and legendary educators."

I'm one of those forty. :slightly_smiling_face:

@toontalk This looks terrific! My copy will arrive on Wednesday, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Is there a reason that the book is not being made available in electronic (Kindle) format? My wife also would like to read it, but would need the ability to increase the font size (on her Kindle) in order to read it.

Good question about an e-book. Best to ask sylvia@inventtolearn.com and gary@stager.org

I'll get my free copy next month in return for contributing a page or two.

@jens We used discussion in this strand as the basis for an article, "Twenty Things to Do with Snap!" for publication in the CITE Journal along with the original 1971 "Twenty Things" paper:

Brian reviewed it and made revisions. Could you read it and make further revisions that you judge would be useful to a general audience of teachers? For example, would it be helpful to include a few words about the design principles that guide development of Snap! ?

@toontalk I followed up with Gary, who contributed an essay about development of his book of readings ("Twenty Things: Forward 50"). Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

What is this? Is it differential geometry but with finite differences (discrete, in other words)? I'm not even sure what differential geometry is.

In differential geometry the position and heading of something is determined by a differential equation over time, I think. In finite differential geometry you look at finite differences. Turtle geometry is finite differential geometry.

That's a lot more straightforward than the wikipedia article which just said

Differential geometry is a mathematical discipline that studies the geometry of smooth shapes and smooth spaces, otherwise known as smooth manifolds, using the techniques of differential calculus, integral calculus, linear algebra and multilinear algebra.

Now freely available as open access:

also, still highly recommended to purchase as hard copy!!