Toby is a TurtleGraphics language and learning environment, similar, in many ways, to LOGO. You have a cute triangle that you move around the screen with simple commands: go forward, turn right, etc. With these commands you can construct fascinating games, works of art, and outlets of expression. It's fascinating and useful for everyone from early childhood to late adulthood.
TurtleGraphics have been noted by many psychologists and educators to be a powerful aid in teaching geometry, spatial perception, logic skills, computer programming, and art. Toby builds on the work of LOGO by cleaning up the syntax of the programming language itself, enabling students to dive into the software more easily, while at the same time giving them a better lesson in what clean, maintainable software looks like.
It may seem a bit intimidating to boast that a software package can be aimed at such a large age group, and be a good teaching device that also happens to better prepare students for high-paying technical jobs, but it's true; the value of TurtleGraphics are undisputably enriching in many fields.
Toby adheres to a simple paradigm:
Here are some screenshots of the current stable version of Toby.
For several years now, one of the development goals of Toby has been cross-platform support. A program is of no use if it won't run on your computer. To that end, the current stable release of Toby is written in Java 1.2, which allows it to run on most computers and operating systems, whether you have an iMac or a Windows box or Linux running on a Sparc mainframe.
The current development version of Toby, however, is a rewrite (rewrite #5, to be specific) in C and C++. The goal is more flexibility and performance speed without a loss in portability. Indeed, we are targeting platforms that have no Java support in the first place. The vision of being able to use Toby on your Palm Pilot will be realized yet.
Toby's educational value does not stop with the program; all versions of Toby are available in source code form, so the advanced (and the curious) may poke around under the hood to see what makes Toby tick. In fact, the license Toby uses requires that the source code always be available to those that want to take a look, so that others might learn and benefit from it.
The best source of documentation right now is myself; do not hesistate to email me with questions about the installation, the program itself, or the philosophy behind it. I love email. :)
Page maintained by Ryan C. Gordon.