A parallel, object-orientated control language designed to introduce the ideas of control technology and robotics to the middle school classroom has just been released by KMi researchers Peter Whalley & Ben Hawkridge.
The language and the graphic interface were designed to represent the notion of input-process-output that is central to basic robotics and control technology. It's operation can be explained using the intuitively accessible metaphor of a cast of actors able to send messages to each other. The programmers role becomes one of playwright, writing scripts for the actors.
Actor-lab was designed to be used by a teacher working with a whole class, and having to rely on the children to help each other. Work is continuing to develop a rule-based advice system that can support peer-tutoring by children as young as 10.