(Fwd) Re: LOGO-L> Re MLC 
Author Message
 (Fwd) Re: LOGO-L> Re MLC

This was a reply to Michael's posting on the list which I sent
back only to Michael - on reflection I thought others might find it
of passing interest.

Thanks again to folk on the list for the interest in learning, Aussi
schools and MLC. Josie
Dear Michael,

I am a little daunted at receiving an Email from someone whose work I
have read so often. However, I shall try to answer your questions as
comprehensively as I can, and split the answer into the Logo issues
and  the learning experiences offered in general at MLC. None of it
is a really official policy response or anything so if there are
'gaps' please let me know :-)
The Logo:

The listing of MW as multimedia tool on the website I hadn't even
noticed. Underpinning any supply of technology at MLC is the desire
to provide the students with great tools, skills to use them and
reasons to engage with the medium/learning - MW/Logo certainly would
never be made compulsory though it certainly is an integral part of
the learning offered to all students.

The use of Microworlds at MLC is very strong in the Junior
School (ages 5 yo to 12 yo) where Steve Costa and his team have
continued to forge ahead with interesting and innovative projects -
simulations etc - in particular with the years 10 and 11 yo
(years 5 & 6) groups where the girls first get their own laptops....
indeed they produced a CDRom of some of their best projects this

In year 7 the Maths department is given 'the task' of continuing the
MW's work (we have an influx of approx 180 students from other
schools in this year) in addition the Immersion French course/strand
uses French logo (the extent to which I do not know), and in science
the girls spend a term doing LegoLogo activities for all of their
science lessons. Last year I had two of the ten Year 8 Science
classes - we had two fairly extensive MW assignments running during
the year - the most popular being a "States of matter and
physical/chemical reactions" project which developed alongside the
girls' skills in the lab and associated concepts. The 'neatness' of
using recursion and variables appealed to the students, and allowed
the reinforcement of implicit messages re randomness and amount of
movement in states of matter as well as attraction using nearto
functions etc.

Toolbook was certainly chosen (in the last years of David's MLC
'reign') to 'replace' MW at Middle and Senior levels - I am not sure
of the relative success as I was not at the school, suffice to say
that from next year the new Science Coordinators for Middle School
are placing MW back on student machines as standard and we are
developing ideas and skilling staff for the coming year. The Science
Coords and myself are particularly interested in developing a
Genetics generations simulation using lists and allele recognition
for one of the Science electives (I've done a like assignment
before and that success demands some extension :-)

Many of the original members of the MLC team have gone on to have
profound influence on learning and the use of MW throughout Aus. and
many remain firm supporters of OzLogo.

Learning in general

With approx 250 staff and 2400 students there is obviously a variety
of experiences not to mention epistemologies at MLC. We trade on our
high academic achievement record as well as past{*filter*}care and
technology, but these are treated as reasons for change and a
deliberate constant questioning of the status quo.

Opportunities for staff to try new ideas are backed by good technical
support, the staff "Learning Network" and various committees as
appropriate (We have 10 technical staff to service laptops and
network, plus 10 folk like myself to assist teachers in the
curriculum/computing/learning developments, and
effective implementation of them in classrooms. One  other factor is
the around a 10% turnover of staff per year - keeps us all 'honest'!
Staff are each guaranteed a minimum of 30hours official PD per year
and from 1999 all staff are provided with a laptop free (previously
this came out of our pay).

MW/ Logo is not the only creative tool the students are provided
with. Purists perhaps would not like us 'leaving' logo programming,
however the learning practices are as much about the constructionist
culture as the software. For our seniors (year 12), external
(statewide) exams await in every subject at the end of every
semester...  determining their tertiary entry and graduation,
hence the syllabus is fairly fixed. At senior levels the  tools of
choice like Interactive Physics, Inspiration/Storyspace, various
Art/Graphics, Mathematics specific, Web-authoring software etcetc are
determined by faculties. Some of the most exciting work at the senior
levels has been in interfaculty alliances (eg - English, and Physics
in the writing and performing of "Hamlet the Physics Edition - The
History of Quantum theory as told by the bard") and the active
seeking of new ways to extend the creative experiences and skills
available to the students in every subject area.

Other schools are 'doing the MLC thing' and extremely well -
Kilvington Girls Grammar, Geelong Grammar, Wesley, etc etc - sure MLC
has a pretty good 'headstart' and one we don't intend to waste but
there's nothing like a bit of healthy competition to force the line
even further :-)


Were you to visit, I think you would be pleased and encouraged by
what you see - we don't have it perfect yet and still struggle to
enable *all* staff to experience the joy of the 'logo' type learning
online, in the classroom and on laptops..... but there is a critical
mass of individuals working at every level and in evey subject

I believe that David's legacy was the creation of a true 'learning
community' (albeit still developing when he left). Rosa Storelli (new
principal) is openly committed to building on that constantly and
developing our (teachers and students) role in ways which can 'spread
the word' to the broader educational community (research, writing ,
conferences etc etc).  The latter aim is exciting and really 'hard
fun'!! :-)

I hope this gives some kind of insight and I'm really happy to do
an occassional 'scribble' to you ( if you are interested), esp as
next year looks like being fun :-)

Kindest Regards and Best Holiday wishes

Josie Hopkins

"Pass the constructions" - Timmy's (son 6yo) request for the
diagrams to help with the new Lego set :-)

New and stirring things are belittled because if they are not belittled the humiliating question arises, "Why then are you not
taking part in them?" - H.G.Wells

Thu, 28 Jun 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 [ 1 post ] 

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