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December 12, 2013

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  1. Dec 12 2013

    Peter – thanks for such a thoughtful and information filled post here! And on the day of the #hourofcode as well! I’m sure that many folks, especially those new to the hacking movement will appreciate the references. I always admire you folks who were doing this stuff when it was really hard! New applications make it easy for teachers and kids to get started, but hopefully they persevere and find robust versions of tools so that kids can take the experience to the level they want.

    My experience with programming came first as a learner at University where I took a course called Computers in Psychology (circa 1986) and learned to program educational games using Waterloo Basic. That was back when the DOS screen just blinked the cursor at us…it was hard…but it was fun! Being in control was a key point, as you mention wanting for kids.

    Then, fast forward to about 2005 when you showed me MicroWorlds Jr, an iconic version of LOGO! When my grade 1 and 2s were huddled around the computer trying to fix a bug in their program and shrieking with excitement – I was hooked! My kids could program mazes, make music, create animations and wonderfully interactive presentations – all with MWJr. Give me a computer with MicroWorlds and a decent blogging platform and I’m a pretty happy teacher! 🙂 🙂

    • Dec 14 2013

      Hey Brenda,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment! You say, “I always admire you folks who were doing this stuff when it was really hard!” Yes. A couple of points on that if I may. I got at it earlier cuz I’m older!! LOL Seriously, it so suited my way of teaching that it was just a natural extension of my practice and of my ‘way of being’ in the classroom. I, personally, was blessed to meet many of the early geniuses and leaders. And, those folks looked backward – as well as forward – to inform their practice. I mean, as you know, Seymour Papert was a student of Jean Piaget’s for goodness sake. He, and many others, were renaissance folks. They were well-read across domains and across time. A lesson for us all. ‘Specialization is for insects’ as it has been said. 🙂
      Yes. It was harder then – technically! But, we had a culture in education that was more amenable to tinkering, experimentation, inquiry (real inquiry – not the worksheet variety I fear comes out of the institutionalization & shotgun, decontextualized implementation of these constructs!). That culture that trusted educators and students to engage in passionate, open education made it easier than now.

      I love your story about MicroWorlds Jr. Here we are – almost in 2014 – and we are still showing people Logo – because of the power it affords kids in many areas — including thinking about their thinking.

      thx you

  2. Dec 13 2013

    That was a nice memory post, Peter. Thanks for doing this. I find it interesting how the premise behind LOGO has found its way into most of the languages that we find in education these days. Everyone’s looking to extend the wonderful learning experience that LOGO affords. The turtle has to be the least honoured symbol of programming. Even as I swipe to unlock my Android, there are times when I think of the instructions that I could give to a turtle to walk the path to perform the unlock.

    Underlying all of this though is the true learning that happens. As I posted recently, it’s not simply just getting the task done. It’s the important message that you can be in charge and you can make the device do your will. At every turn, we see technology in place and we need to have, and we need to encourage students to have, the understanding that they are in control.

    What better testament to the humble turtle.

    • Dec 14 2013

      Hi Doug,
      Thanks for your thoughtful reply!
      Yes, it is awesome to see coding as a phenomenon right now. You say, “I find it interesting how the premise behind LOGO has found its way into most of the languages that we find in education these days”. I hope that people deeply consider more than the ‘student agency’ – the ‘student in control’ issue. As important as that is (being a Summerhill guy at heart), I hope people will start talking more about how they are scaffolding the coding environments to help kids to develop thinking skills, metacognitive skills, transferable skills and so forth. What I hear about mostly is ‘student at the centre of the learning’ – which, as I say, is great – but, I want to hear more from folks.
      And, to be clear, I hear you talking about transfer right in your reply in regards to your Android. 🙂


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. OTR Links 12/14/2013 | doug --- off the record
  2. Turtle Art – am I a programmer or an artist… | The Construction Zone
  3. Curricularize Coding? Not a New Question! | The Construction Zone
  4. Remembering Seymour Papert in Ontario Education | The Construction Zone
  5. Let’s Not Start from Scratch: Some Early Research on ‘Coding’ | The Construction Zone

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