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A Gathering of "Squeakers" - SqueakFest '04

Over 80 participants representing a variety of states and countries world-wide gathered at Columbia College in Chicago to exchange projects, ideas and plans for using Squeak with muti-aged learners in a variety of contexts.

SqueakFest was the inaugural event for the just-opened "University Center of Chicago" a state-of-the-art facility shared by Columbia College, Roosevelt University and DePaul University.

The agenda included panels, presentations and hands-on workshops. Highlights were a panel presentation from Columbia College's Interactive Multimedia department, the Early Childhood Education department, and faculty from the Chicago Laboratory School who are collaborating to develop suitable interfaces and curriculum for use in the Lab School; a panel of participants from Japan who shared the ongoing research and curriculum development in the Kyoto City Schools and at Kyoto University; a presentation of "Croquet" and how it is being used as a development environment for use at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota; and a sneak peak at "Scratch" a Squeak-based system being designed at the MIT Media Lab intended for use by high school aged learners.

Several K-12 teachers shared how they used Squeak with students during the previous academic year and their plans for continued use next year. Participants dicussed the need and plan for the creation and dissemination of more documentation and "how to" materials, specifically for the Etoy component of Squeak.

SqueakFest participants also helped to test an updated version of Squeak, now fully "international" and ready to support mutiple languages. This updated version will be available for world-wide distribution and download via this website shortly -- in time for the start of the '04/05 academic year.

It was wonderful to have the opportunity to meet face-to-face and to bring educators, developers, learners and technical people together through the common desire to use and build better computer-based learning environments.

We wish to acknowledge and thank the sponsors for the event: Columbia College, Viewpoints Research Institute, Hewlett Packard, and Apple Computer.

Columbia College has agreed to host SqueakFest '05 next summer. We hope to see you there!

"My kind of town, Chicago is.."

Columbia College Provost Steven Kapelke greets the group.

BJ Allen-Conn (Southern California) makes a presentation to the assembly
Scott Wallace (Northern California) demos some advanced scripting techniques

Sholom Eisenstat (Toronto) follows the action.

Phil Firsenbaum (New York) shares maze projects created by 5th grade students