Hinweis zum Tutorial "MetaTalk Programmer"

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When the thrill of creating pretty pictures and arranging clip art in HyperStudio wears off and students are are not willing or able to invest the time and effort required to learn the cryptic and out-dated Logo language, it's time to move up to MetaCard. MetaCard's easy-to-learn and easy-to-use MetaTalk scripting language is the choice of kids and professional developers alike. It's the easiest way to move up to the world of programming, yet provides a tool that they'll never outgrow.

The free MetaTalk Programmer package is a self-contained computer programming course for middle and high schools. A MetaCard license is not required to use the MetaTalk Programmer curriculum to teach computer programming concepts and techniques.
Why choose MetaTalk Programmer to teach computer programming?
It's fun!
One of the things that frustrates students about schoolwork is the lack of applicability to their lives and interests. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that students tend to pay more attention and try harder when a lesson is interesting to them. For this reason, MetaTalk Programmer stresses a high interest, hands-on approach to programming. Students create interesting programs from day one, and the more complicated the scripting gets, the more interesting the programs are.

The MetaTalk Programmer application is constructed with three goals in mind:

1. Each of the 20 lessons will be able to be accomplished within a 30 minute time period.

2. Each lesson will contain extension activities for students who can handle an accelerated pace.

3. Every 5 lessons will be a comprehensive review of all techniques covered to that point.
Middle school students can learn it.
Computer programming is something that has always been seen as a "high math" skill, out of reach for most "average" people, and certainly beyond the reach of children. And originally, this may have been the case... but it is not the case today. This unit is designed to teach basic concepts of computer programming to ANY middle school student, regardless of their mathematical background.

When you mention programming to most people, they imagine thousands of lines of obscure symbols and numbers, and some programming does look like that. But this unit uses a very advanced programming language called "MetaTalk", which closely resembles English. Look at the following line of MetaTalk code:

answer 2 + 2

This particular example of MetaTalk code would do just as you suspect it would... add 2 and 2 and answer 4. Not all code will be as easy to relate to, but the point is that real words and phrases are used to program instead of obscure symbols and numbers.

MetaTalk is the perfect language for beginning computer programmers or anyone with an interest in programming, because it so closely resembles English. In fact, MetaCard's programming language is one of several "Scripting" languages... titled scripting because it resembles English, and it controls a program much in the way that a script directs an actor or actress.

MetaTalk Programmer features some of the commands and structures that one will find in almost every other programming language. The logical thought process learned in MetaTalk Programmer can easily be applied when learning another programming language, or when working in a logical mathematics area such as Algebra.
It's valuable.
MetaTalk Programmer can be used by teachers with no programming experience or background. Teachers may discover, however, that they become interested in programming after using this unit! Programming is both challenging and rewarding, and can be very beneficial to both students and adults. It offers a unique combination of logical thinking and creativity not found in any other educational activity. Programming is an area experiencing tremendous growth in the job market, and it has a very promising future. The introduction to programming offered in MetaTalk Programmer might be a turning point for that one quiet student who sits in the back of your classroom, full of creativity, just waiting for an opportunity to demonstrate it.

MetaTalk Programmer runs on all platforms supported by the MetaCard Starter kit, which you must install before you can use MetaTalk Programmer. After installing the Starter Kit, run MTP by double-clicking on it, dragging it to the MetaCard engine, or starting up MetaCard and opening "mtp.mc" from the File/Open... menu. You may need to set the file type of the stack to "MCRDMSTK" on MacOS systems to open it with methods 1 and 3.

You can download MTP and the teachers guide by clicking on the links below. If you get a screen full of characters, shift or control-click on the link and choose to "save" from the popup menu.


To learn more about the goals and prerequisites for the course, be sure to click on the "Teachers Guide" link on the main menu page. After completing the MTP course, students will probably want to start using the full MetaCard development environment and the free Starter Kit version of MetaCard is a good place to start. When they want to build larger products than the Starter Kit allows, an upgrade to a full license is in order.

K-12 schools (elementary through high school) can purchase unlimited usage MetaCard licenses starting at $250 (U.S. Dollars) for a 10 user lab pack. No smaller-quantity licenses are available through this program. Contact MetaCard Corporation for information on larger license packages.