When I went to high school there was a computer science class offered, but at the time I am sure I thought that it was just for geeks. Little did I know a few years later when I was in university I would have to take a computer science class and probably would have found the class a little easier to follow if I had taken the class in high school. Even learning about Logo would have probably helped as I struggled to write code. I am going to digress a bit here, but I have a twin brother who is the complete opposite of me. He was one of the students that took the high school computer science class, and there may have been a little teasing that came with it. My brother moved on to doing IT work after high school, and when I went crawling to him for help in university, there may have been a little (or a lot) of payback coming my way.
After playing around in the Logo emulator in last week’s class, I decided that I wanted to have my students give it a go. When I still had my teaching partner around, we had talked about doing some basic coding with our students. I thought that using the Logo emulator would be a great beginning point for all of us (more so me, then them), so, last Friday I started working through some of the basics with them and then we started to work through some of the exercises in the workbook. The students picked it up quickly and really enjoyed seeing the designs they could make. It was a great way to introduce 90, 180, 270 and 360 degree turns to them. They really enjoyed entering a code for a shape and then adding a turn at the beginning of it to make a different design.
I enjoyed reading Dean’s walk down memory lane, and I think I will have to visit his project from ECI 831 as I move forward learning about coding with my class. I know that they would all love to do the Minecraft Edu, so that is what we will work towards. In Kristina’s blog, she listed three reasons why using Logo would be a great activity with students; 1) spatial thinking and visualization, 2) problem solving and 3) learning a new (technology) skill. These reasons also align really well with Papert’s theory of constructionism. Constructionist learning involves students drawing their own conclusions through creative experimentation and the making of social objects. The constructionist teacher takes on a mediational role rather than adopting an instructional role (Wikipedia). The day my students and I were working on the exercises I had my computer projecting on the board, and I only worked through the first two with the class. After that I asked them to see if they could figure out how to complete exercise three on their own. Some of my students were getting frustrated and would ask for help, which I love to see. That is a huge step for my kiddos! We talk about resiliency in my classroom and I think using Logo and letting the students work through the exercises will help a lot.