This week class was one of the most memorable class for me and thanks to the magic turtle which took me back to my primary and secondary schooling, undergraduate days and refreshed my old memories of coding. Before taking up mathematics as a major in my masters, I was a computer science student in my undergraduate days and coding was all I used to do for those three years of study and thanks to the magic turtle which laid a strong foundation for me. For those who are not familiar with the magic turtle called Logo, its simple and I bet you would learn this in maybe 30 minutes. It is all about giving a command to the turtle who incidentally carries a pen to move around and draw whatever you wish to draw. You can make the turtle move forward, backward and turn left or right. This adorable turtle is so obedient that it traces out all the moves you want it to make and there you go by the end of the steps you have your desired image or shapes on the computer screen.
I still can remember my school days when I was 10 or 11 years old and that was when I was introduced to Logo and boy! I was so excited. I was not excited because I was about to learn to code but I was excited just to see a turtle on my computer screen and the fact that it could move according to my wish was a mind-blowing experience and maybe I can’t express those feelings in words. I could make it move up and down, to right and left and trace line along its movement. Once I was quite comfortable with making the turtle move according to my wish, I started drawing objects, I learned various functions and procedures and by no time and without my knowledge I was introduced to the world of computer science and mathematics. The real meaning of discovery learning or constructivism was introduced to me by Logo and Today I hold a
bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a master’s degree in Mathematics and heading towards another master’s degree in Education. After my school days, I never used logo again but the value I learned out of it was the foundation for my further studies. I learned to model things to reality and developed problem-solving skills; eventually moved up to various mathematical concepts. I was introduced to the world of geometry and Arithmetic with a best possible way and maybe the theoretical ways of explaining the same concept would have turned out to be a disaster for me.
I couldn’t agree more with my classmate Daniel when he states in his blog post that Logo programming language is an excellent framework for learning “how to think” in the world of problem-solving. I believe that the Logo philosophy of education is best described as Constructivism and the best way for discovery learning. For a child, it’s the best tool where they learn by modeling reality which is both exciting and appealing. It enhances their mathematical skills and deepens understanding, creative thinking. Constructive play can be rightly introduced by the process of tracing lines, painting, creating blocks and objects. The best part is that the child does not have to think about creating things but as they learn to use it, they create and discover and Thus Constructive learning happens which directly relates to Papert’s theory of constructionism. The Constructionist learning says that it happens when learners construct mental models to understand the world around them and that was how I learned mathematics and was introduced to the world of numbers. My imagination grew and so did my interest towards participation in project-based learning. I learned to make connections and the best part was, for learning the basics of mathematics I never had to listen to lectures and the credit goes to Seymour Papert, Thank you.