I have never done coding in this lifetime, until a week ago in EC&I 833. When we were introduced to the Logo program I couldn’t understand why there was a little green turtle right in the middle of the web page. As we were introduced we were also given an online work booklet that gave us an introduction to the world of coding. Instruction on how to move the turtle to make different shapes and designs, I was immediately addicted!
This program taught basic commands and teaches one to use their mind in a mathematical way that we don’t always get to. I found it challenged me to think about the design I was trying to emulate and figure out the different angles and lengths of lines that were needed to be successful. After figuring out how to successfully create stars, squares, 20 step staircases and other such designs, I was challenged to try to shorten codes and see if it would work with a “repeat” command. Each step became more complicated, but as time went by it continued enhancing my coding literacy.
Exercise after exercise created more challenging conundrums that I was fiercely focused on solving. I was so enamoured with coding and trying to master each exercise I lost complete track of time wanting to spend about fifteen-minute stints on the workbook but when I looked at the clock a full hour had gone by.
This would be a great tool for math classrooms for middle years through high school. Not only are you trying to construct shapes but you are utilizing line length, direction, and angles. In an age of connectivism and a need for computer literacy, this would be a great step in obtaining a deeper understanding in regards to computer programming. There are also coding programs that are available that Sage talks about near the end of her blog for kids.
If there was ever an updated curriculum for math it should have a unit on coding. Students would absolutely love having this type of programming in school, I think it would harbour more curiosity, teamwork and problem solving within a classroom community…not to mention a greater technological literacy. This also ties into Seymour Papert’s theory of constructivism having students using their mind to help them construct different models and creating them in a program like Logo. One of my EC&I classmates made another great point in regards to including the Logo program as an educational tool stating:
“Logo in and of itself is also a way in which students can understand and, through logic, reason the movements of the turtle based on their own understanding of their body’s movement.” – Michael Graham
As teachers, we are always looking for different ways to engage our classroom populations and when it comes to math this would bring a new element of engagement, curiosity and excitement to student populations. In order to be able to properly utilize these programs that would be beneficial in schools, education needs greater funding.