Not the most fashionable programming language but it's a good time to rediscover Logo - a wonderfully easy and satisfying first step into syntax coding. Developed by Seymour Papert and his team at MIT from the late 1970s it's been around for a while meaning there are tonnes of free resources out there. Why learn Logo? * it is fun * it help students think logically * it is real computer science * Logo is easy to learn, yet it also has enough depth to do many things that can be done in other computer languages. Click here to download.
There's fun to be had with Logo, it's both playful and purposeful and after only a few sessions students get great satisfaction of producing superb 'one liners'.
While tinkering is a vital part of learning how computers 'think' Logo provides that vital next step children learn to write programs in a more systematic and disciplined manner instead of resorting to trial-and-error, they spend more time on analysis and design that are essential to successful problem solving. I've found when coding with Logo students produce programs that were compact and well-structured as a result of systematic programming. It's an old tool but remains a great one for teaching the essence of computational thinking.
MSWLogo remains popular because it is easily grasped; it allows users to draw a relatively complex figure with only a few instructions and importantly it gives immediate, visual feedback the first experience is a fruitful one building confidence creating a buzz and collaboration. .
The video above was coded in logo and the music in Sonic Pi. Sonic Pi, a tool for creating music by writing code, enables users to define their own sounds, rhythm and tone and alter parameters and values whilst playing (live coding).
Students can get instant satisfaction from seeing the shapes and patterns they have coded.
A example of how beautiful art can be created with code written by young children. collaborate on making new interesting patterns.
There are plenty of resources to get started
Mathcats.com is a site that hosts images of 'One Liners'. The challenge was to "Write a Logo one-liner using 15 or fewer words, not counting square brackets and parentheses, to produce the most beautiful, complex, and interesting picture."
Dreaming up one-liners can be tough sometimes. So it's an idea to have students try it on paper. Draw a design or a picture using just one shape. The results can be surprising.
An animated Gif made from MSW Logo. It wasn't straight forward and I'm sure there is a better way but we used 5 Second from the screen cast of the Logo animation then converted it in http://ezgif.com/
Designing Logo's with MSW Logo. A a fun and simple way to introduce Logo is through Scratch. Click here for an overview of how this can be done.
Like the BP logo project the Logo above was initially created in logo then edited in Paint.net, a fun and satisfying multidimensional project for MP3/4. Students then went on to incorporate the logos they designed into websites hand coded using HTML5.