LOGO-L> Logo environment--help, thoughts, etc. 
Author Message
 LOGO-L> Logo environment--help, thoughts, etc.

Hello all,

I'm trying to put together a Logo... "product," and could use some
guidance.

First, a bit of background: I'm a graduate student in computer science at
Rice University, and have taken on this project just for fun--I remember
some experiences with Logo long ago, and decided to spend some time
building a teaching tool for younger students. However, I'm fairly
ignorant about what might be useful: my memory is terribly fuzzy.

So far, I've built an interactive turtle geometry system. I'm planning to
add a mini-editor, too. My goal is to concentrate on turtle geometry
systems and to aim this at especially younger students. The probably
outdated comp.lang.logo FAQ I found says

Modern Logos support at least one graphical turtle and multiple graphical
colors, sometimes of varying line widths.

That's a reasonable goal, one I'm trying to reach. Is there something else
important I'm missing? I know that there are far more extensive
implementations, and I'm definitely not trying to meet those.

Here's some questions:

1) Is there a standard Logo dialect for turtle geometry? I can't seem to
find one.
2) What kinds of things are important to you as educators in a tool like
this?

I realize this is a bit vague, and I hope I'm not wasting your time. At
the end of the day, though, I plan to release this for free. There's some
other advantages I can explain more personally. Meanwhile, if you could
help me set my direction and/or if you'd like to see the work in progress,
please let me know. I really appreciate your help.

Scott

---------------------------------------------------------------





Sun, 21 May 2000 03:00:00 GMT  
 LOGO-L> Logo environment--help, thoughts, etc.

Quote:

>1) Is there a standard Logo dialect for turtle geometry? I can't seem to
>find one.
>2) What kinds of things are important to you as educators in a tool like
>this?

At one of the Logo conferences several years ago I ran a session in
which the possibility of a standard was discussed.  Many of the Logo
implementors were there, as well as many users.  We ended up with
the conclusion that no standard was possible, because there were too
many serious disagreements about syntax, and also because the set of
primitive procedures was constantly in flux.

The main syntactic disagreement was about special forms.  In LCSI Logo
and products derived from it, TO is the only exception to the rule that
inputs are evaluated before a procedure is invoked.  For example, to
edit a procedure named FOO you must say
        EDIT "FOO
so that the word FOO, the procedure's name, is the value of the input
to EDIT.  By contrast, in MIT-derived dialects (such as Terrapin), several
primitive procedures are treated as exceptions, so you must say
        EDIT FOO
to edit the procedure named FOO.

The advantage of the latter (special form) syntax is that it's more
obvious to a beginner, especially a young one.

The advantage of the former (evaluated) syntax is that it's a more
general mechanism.  For example, suppose I have a bunch of procedures
that I want to consider as a unit.  I can say
        TO MYPROCS
        OUTPUT [PROC1 PROC2 PROC3]
        END
and then use the instruction
        EDIT MYPROCS
to edit those three procedures.  In Terrapin syntax it would instead
edit the procedure MYPROCS itself, which isn't what I want this time.
Also, in the long run (some of us think) it's easier to understand;
in MIT-derived dialects you still have to say
        MAKE "VAR value
to assign a value to the variable VAR, so you have to explain to
students why you need quotes in that case but not for EDIT!

Some really recent versions have even more different notations, moving
away from the whole idea of variables, so instead of using MAKE to set
the value and using :VAR to retrieve it, you have procedures SETVAR
and VAR for those purposes, and there are no variables at all.

As for the semantics, what are the essential features of Logo?  There
have been versions without turtle graphics, such as the "Music Logo"
that Terrapin sold for the Apple II in which graphics primitives were
replaced with sound generation primitives.  At MIT there is a project
in which a small computer is mounted in a Lego brick; it has a different
primitive set from the typical keyboard-and-screen computer.  At the
meeting all we agreed on was that anything called Logo should have
the word and list processing primitives (FIRST, BUTFIRST, LAST, BUTLAST,
WORD, SENTENCE, etc.).

There exist programs in the world that do turtle graphics only, but
I think most of us agree that it's wrong to call such a program "Logo,"
which is not to say that it couldn't be useful.

[posted and mailed]



Sun, 21 May 2000 03:00:00 GMT  
 LOGO-L> Logo environment--help, thoughts, etc.

Dear Scott,
let me give some responses that may help.

I find Logo programming exciting and enjoyable and include it in the
Information Technology classes and the mathematics education classes I
teach to Elementary and Secondary teachers. I am so enthusiastic that I try
to find as many different ways as I can to get teachers, and hence their
students, programming with Logo in as many different curriculum areas as
possible.

In particular I am concerned that in some places, and perhaps Australia in
particular, Logo is not widely used because it is known only for its turtle
geometry: draw a square, draw a triangle, and hence draw a house, .... By
contrast with graphics packages that draw houses, with your brain in
neutral, Logo seems very clumsy.(Of course it is stupid to compare Logo
with graphics packages, but I suspect this is what those teachers do who
reject Logo.) And what good are houses anyway if I'm a science, or
geography, or English, or music or art teacher?

So I try to find as many low-level entry-points to Logo as possible, with
as many openings to curriculum areas as I can find.

Turtle geometry, tesselation, spirals and so on lead well to certain kinds
of art study (patterns, folk art, abstract art).

Using coordinates and headings connects with geography and map reading and
map making, and also to sports such as orienteering.

Using command words that create sound connects with music. If this can also
be linked with getting words on the screen, then we can have the turtle
play the notes of a melody while showing, word by word, or syllable by
syllable, the words of the song - poetry and music, plus screen-layout
programming.

Using simple interactive command words (that can be used to ask the user to
type something, and then check what has been typed against some data-bank
of questions and answers) can be used to make practice quizzes for all
kinds of curriculum areas. Learning how to make user-friendly interactive
software is also a valuable information technology task - not that the
students are learning commerically-oriented industrial-strength programming
that they could use to become a second Bill Gates. But they are learning
the foundations of this, and learning to be critical users of software. In
fact Logo is an extremely powerful programming language in its own right,
and others might be able to explain better than I can why it isn't used
more, in preference to cryptic industrical-strength languages like C++, or
even Pascal.

Of course almost any kind of mathematics can be simulated or built into
Logo programming, including arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry, number
theory, measurement, sequences, probability, statistics, graphing, and even
aspects of calculus.

Science phenomenon (friction, moving objects, biological growth, machines,
genetics, and so on) can be simulated through Logo programming.

Also some versions of Logo allow the turtle to take a non-turtle shape: by
qickly shifting the turtle through a succession of shapes we can make a
kind of flicker-book animation. Students find this enormous fun, and they
are learning a lot about graphics on a computer, simple programming, and
finding a totaly un-house-like way of starting to use turtle geometry.

While there is no standard vocabulary or version of Logo, the various
dialects, at least at the level of their core of command words and the way
these words are strung together (the syntax and flow of control) are
essentially uniform. There are superficial interface differences, and there
are some command words which work in one Logo dialect which aren't known in
the others.

I hope some of this helps.

Why not try to develop some entry-level music activities, and cartoons, and
coordinates?

You should browse through some back-numbers of journals like Logo Exchange
to see the range of ideas accessible to Logo, in a variety of dialects.

Cheers,
John Gough

Quote:
>Hello all,

>I'm trying to put together a Logo... "product," and could use some
>guidance.

>First, a bit of background: I'm a graduate student in computer science at
>Rice University, and have taken on this project just for fun--I remember
>some experiences with Logo long ago, and decided to spend some time
>building a teaching tool for younger students. However, I'm fairly
>ignorant about what might be useful: my memory is terribly fuzzy.

>So far, I've built an interactive turtle geometry system. I'm planning to
>add a mini-editor, too. My goal is to concentrate on turtle geometry
>systems and to aim this at especially younger students. The probably
>outdated comp.lang.logo FAQ I found says

>Modern Logos support at least one graphical turtle and multiple graphical
>colors, sometimes of varying line widths.

>That's a reasonable goal, one I'm trying to reach. Is there something else
>important I'm missing? I know that there are far more extensive
>implementations, and I'm definitely not trying to meet those.

>Here's some questions:

>1) Is there a standard Logo dialect for turtle geometry? I can't seem to
>find one.
>2) What kinds of things are important to you as educators in a tool like
>this?

>I realize this is a bit vague, and I hope I'm not wasting your time. At
>the end of the day, though, I plan to release this for free. There's some
>other advantages I can explain more personally. Meanwhile, if you could
>help me set my direction and/or if you'd like to see the work in progress,
>please let me know. I really appreciate your help.

>Scott



Lecturer in Education
http://128.184.132.3:80/sci_dev/Staff/jgough.htm
Deakin University SDS, 221 Burwood Hwy, Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia
phone:   Australia, Melbourne area code 03 9244 6390
fax:     Australia, Melbourne area code 03 9244 6734

---------------------------------------------------------------





Sun, 21 May 2000 03:00:00 GMT  
 LOGO-L> Logo environment--help, thoughts, etc.

Thanks to John and everybody else who sent me thoughts--I really
appreciate it. I'm going to be thinking about what I can do in the near
future (which will probably include simple turtle geometry) and then
determine the next direction, and will probably be back in touch with
specific people then. I appreciate all your comments.

Scott

---------------------------------------------------------------





Mon, 22 May 2000 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 4 post ] 

 Relevant Pages 

1. LOGO-L> Apple logo/MSW Logo

2. LOGO-L> Reseach Machines Logo (RM LOGO)

3. LOGO-L> Logo help for Bombay, India

4. LOGO-L> Re: more thoughts on punctuation

5. LOGO-L> Dots, FD 0, etc

6. LOGO-L> ToonTalk environment versus MicroWorlds

7. LOGO-L> Welcome to logo-l

8. LOGO-L> Re: Dynamic scope in Logo

9. LOGO-L> INFO re SIG-LOGO

10. LOGO-L> Logo speed

11. LOGO-L> Logo foundation site

12. LOGO-L> Logo Workshops

 

 
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software