American schools have never been better: A Journalism and Intervention Problem University of Florida to dismantle CISE department

52 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Darrin Thompson  |  April 13, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I liked this gem: “Investigations in Algebra departs from a preoccupation with calculus as the ultimate goal of, and the universal introduction to advanced mathematics.”

  • 2. Alan Kay  |  April 13, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Hi Mark

    I think this is a very good “back to the future” proposal because it at the very least reintroduces real content back into the conversations.

    And Brian Harvey’s books are real gems. And the other books are very good.

    One could imagine an Etoys-like environment using LOGO as the scripting language (we almost did this, but wanted something simpler for our parent-child online goals). This would create something like a Hypercard, but with a more powerful language underneath.

    It is also one pretty gentle way to reconcile LOGO and Objects that is less heavy handed than some of the attempts at an “Object Logo”.

    • 3. Alan Kay  |  April 13, 2012 at 9:23 am

      I got cut off by a new annoying feature of WordPress: collapse this tiny window and forbid scrolling if you select near the bottom of it, yikes!

      Two other things that could be done would be to (a) make LOGO more reflective, and (b) to unify it with starLOGO.

      But I think the main argument here is a good one: that it is much harder to do good documentation than it is to do a good language, and that LOGO can be supersetted without changing its core.

      On the other hand, what about going the other direction — that is, to retread the existing documentation for a better designed language? This has trickier copyright and other issues, but this idea has come up from time to time, and has been done (and by you in redoing media comp in different languages).



      • 4. Mark Guzdial  |  April 13, 2012 at 9:32 am

        Hi Alan,

        Can you give me some examples of how Logo is not reflective? Logo can be written in itself. I definitely see the value of incorporating StarLogo’s support for objects and thousands of turtles, particles, and patches. It’s the reflective part that I don’t get.


        • 5. Alan Kay  |  April 13, 2012 at 9:40 am

          Sure. “Reflection” doesn’t mean that you can create an interpreter or compiler for it or another language.

          It means that you can look deeply into the system that you have — and in a good design can make deep safe changes and extensions to what is there.

          It would be easy to make any particular flavor of LOGO reflective in the deep and most useful sense, but I don’t know of any that are.

          For example, Alex Warth’s version of LOGO done with OMeta in JavaScript is simple and open, and could very easily be made reflective.



          • 6. Mark Guzdial  |  April 13, 2012 at 9:44 am

            Ohhh, I get it — a meta system. Yeah, that’d be fun to add to Logo.


  • 7. Alfred Thompson  |  April 13, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Integrating computer science (with programming) is something several of us at Microsoft have been talking about for some time. We haven’t gotten the time and resources to do anything concrete on the ideas to date. It’s something I think is really important because teaching CS in isolation is a tough sell in schools because of room in the curriculum. More than that though is that is the fact that CS really has a lot to add to other areas of study with the potential to make them more fun and interesting to students.

  • 8. Doug Blank  |  April 13, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Mark, as part of a larger project (called Calico), we are working towards making a collection of languages that can be used for various purposes (teaching, history of cs, theory of programming languages, just for fun, etc.) One language that we have just added (version 0.0) is Logo. That means that Logo gains instant access to all of our libraries, including media comp, robots, graphics, music, Kinect, NXT Mindstorms, Arduino, and more.

    There may well be reasons for not using Logo for education. Or, there may be ways to refine it to make it fit better into the modern landscape of languages. We have some ideas already in the short time we have been experimenting. But, if you don’t have a working language, you can test it. NetLogo is fantastic. But it seems cut off from the rest of the world (maybe like Alice and Scratch are, at least some).

    See for more info.

  • 9. johndenero  |  April 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    One point of reference: we taught a few weeks of Logo at Berkeley last semester. Our CS1 students implemented a Logo interpreter in Python and wrote some short programs.

    47% of surveyed students said that they would have preferred to learn a more typical Lisp rather than Logo. That’s a high number, considering most had never written a line of Lisp. Lisp is hip (again)! This semester, we’ve changed the project to implement Scheme.

    Turtle graphics are just fun, so they remain in the Scheme project. Last semester’s recursive-art-with-a-turtle contest entries are here:

    • 10. Mark Guzdial  |  April 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      John, I’ve been thinking about your comment all weekend. What does that 47% mean, especially if they don’t know what Lisp is? Is it purely about the perceived community of practice around Lisp vs. Logo? I’m guessing that your CS1 is mostly CS majors — is that right? If so, the fact that 53% would rather have Logo than Lisp is a particularly high number. What would it be if we included non-majors? What is the perception of Lisp and Logo, among CS majors and among non-CS majors?

      • 11. johndenero  |  April 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm

        The class is dominated by CS and EE majors. I don’t have a survey split for majors vs. non-majors (I’ll definitely ask that question next time around — good suggestion).

        I interpret this survey result as a clear signal that Logo wasn’t a perfect fit for the course. 47% of students asking for change to something unknown is much too high for my tastes. By contrast, I asked the same students whether they would have preferred Lisp as the primary language of the course instead of Python; only 4% said they would. When so many students ask for change, I see a problem.

        I presented Logo as a Lisp dialect. The students did seem to appreciate the power of a language that easily treats code as data and has a very simple syntax and semantics. I described these features not as particular to Logo, but typical of the whole Lisp family.

        I talked to a few students who were dissatisfied with the Logo unit. They agreed that (a) Logo was interesting, and (b) they were glad to be exposed to a Lisp. However, they just didn’t like learning a language that they wouldn’t use again (Logo), when an equally good alternative existed with a larger community (e.g., Scheme). A few days of following Hacker News or quickly surfaces examples of people building interesting things in Lisp (mostly Clojure) in the startup & open source communities. I think students want to be a part of that ecosystem as soon as they can.

        • 12. Mark Guzdial  |  April 16, 2012 at 2:14 pm

          If we’re talking about a language for across the curriculum, what does it matter what CS and EE majors think is the right programming language? They’re a small slice of the target audience. What they think is “programming” is hopeless influenced by things like Hacker News and, as you say. Can we use Logo with non-majors, who clearly have a different perception of what counts as “programming”?

          I’ve taught turtles in Smalltalk, Python, and Java. Back in the 1990’s, about half the class knew what I was talking about. Now, none do.

          • 13. Brian Harvey  |  April 16, 2012 at 2:36 pm

            I think this sub-discussion about the interpreter assignment in Berkeley’s CS 61A is irrelevant to the main topic. The point of the assignment isn’t to teach the students a language they’re going to use in real life. It comes after the students have seen an interpreter, and they’re asked to write another one. If I were John (i.e., if I were trying to rewrite SICP in Python), I’d invent a language semantically similar to Python, but scoped differently, maybe typed differently, and syntactically very different — maybe fully parenthesized! Inventing a language would have the virtue of making it clear that student comments about the mainstreamness of the language miss the point.

            Choosing a language for this narrow purpose (suitability for an interpreter assignment) is very different from choosing the language in which a course should be taught. Although of course I don’t think mainstreamness is the right criterion there either.

            • 14. Mark Guzdial  |  April 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm

              Completely agreed, Brian! That’s why John’s comment was so interesting to me. What would non-majors think about Logo today? What do they perceive as “mainstream,” and what do they find “acceptable”? The fact that 53% of the CS/ECE students were okay with Logo vs. Lisp is intriguing, as is the 47% who preferred Lisp, but didn’t know what it was (and thus, were swayed by the mainstreamness).

          • 15. johndenero  |  April 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm

            It’s hard for me to believe that this strong distinction between majors and non-majors will persist as an educational design constraint. As programming becomes mainstream and more people become programming-literate, I suspect that everyone interested in programming (major or not) will want to learn about tools that have traction in a broad community.

            Logo could be a hit with non-majors, if it’s true that they aren’t as interested as majors in following community trends, as you suggest. However, I think we’ll find over time that the set of students hopelessly influenced by Hacker News will continue to grow, and quickly. Geek culture is exciting. I’d rather not fight an uphill battle to motivate programming, when the start-up and open-source community movements will do it for me.

            I should admit that my view is likely colored by too much time in Silicon Valley.

            As a side note, I found programming in Logo to be more fun than any other language I’ve tried. It’s definitely a kick for instructors.

            • 16. Brian Harvey  |  April 16, 2012 at 3:53 pm

              “It’s hard for me to believe that this strong distinction between majors and non-majors will persist as an educational design constraint.”

              That’s an imprecise shorthand conventional name for what is really a slightly different distinction, namely, between people who are interested in computer programming (which includes CS majors, engineering and science majors generally, and others who just happen to be interested) and people (some English majors, for example) who think programming is boring and programmers are nerdy, but who (like everyone) use computers all the time and *could* be interested in a curriculum that makes the connection between a relatively painless and engaging form of programming (say, in a version of Scheme disguised as Scratch :-)) and discussions and readings that connect the programming they do with the computer activities they enjoy. This latter group doesn’t read Hacker News and couldn’t care less about joining real-world programming communities of practice. (Maybe *after* the course they’ll want to do that.)

              • 17. johndenero  |  April 16, 2012 at 4:06 pm

                That makes sense, at least for now. The BYOB/Snap project seems like a great approach for engaging students that would otherwise be uninterested (or actively disinterested) in the culture of programmers.

                I think Scratch & App Inventor have already demonstrated that this line of Logo-inspired, blocks-based languages can quickly develop a community of their own.

            • 18. Mark Guzdial  |  April 16, 2012 at 8:08 pm

              John, you could be right. As people learn to program, they may embrace “Geek culture.” The research that I do in my group suggests that you’re not. Brian Dorn did his dissertation studying graphics designers, who program large things and explicitly reject even being called “programmers.” Lijun Ni did her dissertation studying high school teachers who resist calling themselves computer scientists, and that’s a problem given that we’d like to grow those numbers. For the last 10 years, I have been working on a method of teaching non-CS majors about computer science called “Media Computation.” We developed MediaComp at Georgia Tech because our Liberal Arts, Architecture, and Majors (all of whom are required to take CS at Georgia Tech) were flunking out at more than 50% per term — in a course using Scheme. We switched to Media Computation in Python, and we now have an 85% pass rate. We have done one year-later follow-up study of the Liberal Arts, Architecture, and Management students who took MediaComp, and almsot 20% had written more code on their own, for something that they found useful. None of them mentioned picking up “Hacker News,” though. (Myself, I don’t read “Hacker News,”, or Slashdot. Nobody’s demanded my resignation over it yet.)

              It is worth the uphill battle to motivate programming. Even more important, it’s worth recognizing that programming is a literacy, and it can be used to say lots of things in lots of different contexts and cultures. Geek culture is not, has not been, and is unlikely to be the only culture associated with programming.

              • 19. johndenero  |  April 16, 2012 at 8:28 pm

                That makes perfect sense, and I’m glad to see such great progress at GA Tech. I think I missed the point of your original post — I didn’t catch that “CS principles” meant a curriculum for a very broad audience.

                In any case, I found Logo to be great fun, but it didn’t survey well in our CS course for majors. My explanation regarding the trendiness of Lisp is just speculation based on anecdotes. As you suggest, Logo could be a great fit for a broad audience course, although I’d personally choose to teach with the Scratch/BYOB/Snap platform.

        • 20. Brian Harvey  |  April 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm

          The Logo-interpreter assignment was initially developed in the context of a Scheme-based course; its purpose was to present a language semantically very similar to the one students already knew, but (1) syntactically quite different, to get them thinking about the difference between syntax and semantics; (2) dynamically rather than lexically scoped, to help them understand what scope means and to focus in on an example of a language design choice; (3) not fully parenthesized, to help them think about why Lisp has all those parentheses beginners always complain about, and the extent to which you can benefit from prefix notation without the parentheses. I used to use APL as the language to implement, but it was too different from Scheme, making it harder for students to factor out the differences.

  • 21. gflint  |  April 16, 2012 at 10:18 am

    If the goal is to teach using turtle graphics there are lots of “modern” languages that can use the turtle. Small Basic, Visual Basic, C#, Python are four I know of and I would assume there are more. The original Logo IDE was very clunky (compared to modern IDEs) and is really not suited to modern computers. I do like to teach with the turtle. It is wonderful for teaching programming basics and it gives a very nice response to programming errors, the kids can see that they made a mistake when the turtle goes left instead of right..

    • 22. Mark Guzdial  |  April 16, 2012 at 10:30 am

      Most of the books I cited don’t use turtle graphics. Logo was originally about text (circa the 1968 BBN Logo), not turtle graphics. There wasn’t just one Logo IDE. LogoWriter was a particularly wonderful implementation that merged Logo into a word processor, so that a student could easily manipulate text computationally.

      • 23. gflint  |  April 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm

        I was just thinking it was the turtle that put Logo on the map.

        Weird coincidence – one of my students just gave me a copy of the Atati Logo manual he found when cleaning an old shop building. Déjà vu all over again.

  • 24. Brian Harvey  |  April 16, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks, Mark and Alan, for praising my books. I confess I still think they’d make a good high school CS curriculum!

    The ideas of Logo aren’t entirely ignored in more recent efforts. Scratch inherits from Logo not only turtle geometry but also the command/reporter distinction embodied in the shapes of the blocks. Our BYOB extension (now being reinvented as “Snap!”) adds the word/sentence operators as well as lambda and higher order functions.

    Historically, I think the rejection of Logo in schools had less to do with Logo’s own strengths or weaknesses than with a rejection of programming altogether in favor of “computer literacy,” i.e., learning to use Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop. The world seems to be coming back to programming, so maybe Logo will make a comeback too.

  • […] my success (and failure, too) on how well I serve the whole class.  Retention matters to me. I care about motivating students to care about computer science. And I hear from the students who drop out or fail: in terms of course reports, in terms of failing […]

  • 26. Shuchi Grover  |  April 24, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Mark, I used LOGO as recently as 2007 to expose kids (in India) to fractals even though they had started using Scratch (on other language arts projects). BYOB (Snap!) was not around yet, and Scratch had its obvious limitations with its inability to allow for users to define functions. And then in 2010, I ran that robotics/engineering workshop in Bangalore using the Gogo Board (which uses LOGO for it’s programming interface). The programming session on introducing kids to programming and LOGO was a hit; especially with the spirograph shapes kids start playing around with almost right off the bat.
    I love it, and would still not be averse to using it today, but Scratch/BYOB do have their appeal though (over LOGO) with their affordances of making it easier to incorporate graphics and other media so kids can make cooler stuff with more ease. And of course, there is also the obvious advantage of side-stepping problems of syntax which can mire early programming experiences.. [I would probably pick BYOB over Scratch – attempting to build “computational literacy” and computational thinking in kids without exposing them to data and functional abstraction would be a huge lapse, imo].
    And on the discussion of Scheme & LISP (& syntax) – at a recent kids’ hackathon this past weekend, I watched as kids struggled with a gazillion issues related to parentheses while trying to draw some simple stuff in We Scheme. It underscored the need for early programming experiences (especially for kids) to be more pleasant and fun..

    • 27. Mark Guzdial  |  April 25, 2012 at 9:10 am

      Hi Shuchi,

      I’ve played with BYOB and Snap, and I can’t figure out how to do in BYOB/Snap the things that are cool in Logo. Maybe I need Brian Harvey to CSBS!

      I just finished Juha Sorva’s (, which was wonderful — the most detailed, multi-faceted evaluation of a programming tool I’ve ever read. I’m not convinced that graphical languages help any more than textual languages for building a student’s mental model of the notional machine. Yes, there are no syntax errors, but Juha still found so many students who thought that they were just manipulating “boxes,” and had no usable understanding of variables or operations or memory.


      • 28. Brian Harvey  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:45 am

        Hi, Mark. Thanks for the compliment!

        I don’t think the point of a graphical language, for most people, is that it makes ideas clearer, but rather that it provides a less intimidating way in. Teaching the ideas is still up to the teacher!

        Having said that, I was astonished at how much easier it is to present the idea of procedure as data with a straightforward (to design, not to implement!) extension to Scratch notation. One of my all-time favorite teaching moments was working with a high school girl who was an experienced Scratcher but was seeing BYOB for the first time. I loaded a project that has on the stage a list of blocks. Before I said a word, she gasped, because she just *got it* from seeing the picture, and got what a powerful idea it is, too.

        I love Logo, but I’m constantly having to explain to teachers, let alone kids, why a variable name has a colon here but not there, or why this expression is in square brackets but that one isn’t, or why [3 4 5 :six 7] doesn’t do what the person wants. This isn’t because Logo has an especially bad syntax; on the contrary, I’d way rather explain Logo’s notation than that of Java. But it’s pretty rare that questions like this come up in Scratch. (There are a couple of syntactic things we got wrong in BYOB, but we think we’re fixing them in Snap!, the new version.)

        There are still some things that are easy in Logo but not in BYOB, mostly about words and sentences. We’ll fix those, too. I want us to end up with all the best aspects of Scratch, Scheme, Smalltalk, and Logo! With none of the warts. A modest goal, don’t you think?

        • 29. alanone1  |  April 25, 2012 at 12:10 pm

          Hi Brian

          I think this is a great goal! (So let’s not worry about whether it is “modest” …)



          • 30. Mark Guzdial  |  April 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm


            Have you thought about “Computer Science Snap/BYOB Style”? As Alan said in a previous comment, the associated documentation can be harder than the language design, and you already have all this great content!

            I have one suggestion for Snap. I have a hard time (in BYOB) finding the Logo-like tools (e.g., for sentence/list operations) and the meta-programming tools (e.g., procedure as data). Is there some way of highlight the beyond-Scratch tools? For example, when I look at the variables panel (pictured below), I expected to see something about making up sentences/strings and maybe making blocks (is that what a script variable is?). Maybe I should just try everything and it’ll make sense in actual practice.

            BYOB Variables Panel

            • 31. Brian Harvey  |  April 25, 2012 at 1:45 pm

              “Make a block” is hiding behind the scroll bar in your picture. With luck, maybe Jens will be embarrassed that you couldn’t find it, and will finally put the scroll bars in a separate pane like everyone else instead of mixing them in with the content. 🙂

              Words and sentences are a little tricky because, unlike Logo, Scratch (hence BYOB) represents lists in a form that don’t look anything like a text string. There are text string operators (in the Operators palette), and there are word and sentence operators implemented using them in the Tools collection. But, as in the really early BBN Logo, they can’t distinguish between a word and a single-word sentence. This is really the only area in which I miss Logo’s notation. To get around it, we have tool blocks LIST->SENTENCE and SENTENCE->LIST so that a sentence can be handled within a program as a list, but displayed to the user as text.

              In Snap!, the Tools will be broken into modules, so you’ll be able to load word/sentence functions explicitly without having to search for them through the entire collection of tools.

              About documentation, BYOB has a manual (click on the Help menu) and also a series of video tutorials. All this has to be redone for Snap! once Jens gives me zebra coloring so I can make new pictures of Snap! code. I know we need a lot more documentation, too; on my list of things to keep me busy in retirement (one more year) is an e-book, because I think a paper book really isn’t the best form in which to talk about a visual drag-and-drop language. But, I daydream about rewriting SICP in Snap! too.

  • 32. Shuchi Grover  |  April 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Yes! I think that would be just the tool for CS in K-12 (and perhaps intro to CS in undergrad)!

    Mark, I thought there was a very clear “Make a Block”? And in there was the category of block one could make or “other” or List (I so wish they were more array than list – i.e. access elements directly with an index) but maybe things have changed since I last played with byob.

    Also, to your earlier comment– I think lessons from the 80s do point to developing a pedagogy of programming and for scaffolding for building the right mental models. It is unlikely that that is being achieved in the millions of Scratch projects that are being uploaded with kids tinkering and messing about at home (and nothing wrong with that if teaching computing is not the goal). Hopefully that is what we will get right this time around!

  • 33. Shuchi Grover  |  April 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Also, I uuhistle looks very promising. I need to spend some time on it!

  • 34. Martin Exner  |  December 14, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Hi Computing Education Blog.
    Im a big admirer of the Constructionism-term and the works of Papert. Scratch, LOGO and visual programming languages like these (Alice, LEGO Mindstorms, ect.) all works perfect in the school system, but have you considered the use of those in kindergarten?
    Take a look:

  • […] a book on how to teach computing — and there are just far too few of those.  Other than the Logo books and the Guide to Teaching CS (from Orit Hazzan et al.), there’s not much to help new CS […]

  • […] A nice piece arguing motivating computing across the curriculum and computing for everyone.  Next step: thinking about how to teach computing across the curriculum. […]

  • […] have talked here before about the use of computing to teach physics and the use of Logo to teach a wide range of topics. Live coding raises another fascinating possibility: Using coding to teach […]

  • […] exploring and experimenting with.  I would not expect it to have much effect, though.  If we had a school system that used code in interesting and powerful ways across the curriculum, then starting to teach kids to program at five or six as steps toward computational literacy would […]

  • […] love to see more detail on what they’re doing.  It’s what Seymour Papert wanted for Logo, now happening not far from MIT and the original Logo experiments.  I love what they say later in […]

  • […] How to Teach Coding Across the Curriculum: Why Not Logo? […]

  • […] an early paper I wrote on using Logo to teach music to young children is still available.  I did a post here on all the great interdisciplinary curricula that existed for Logo.  There are still Logo workshops available for teachers, and there are slots open for this […]

  • 43. Bob  |  July 13, 2016 at 6:43 am

    My name is Bob Kahn and I am teaching a new computer science class to 7th and 8th graders at Brentwood School in Los Angeles this Fall. I have dabbled in CS but have not formal training. Gary Stager and another friend of mine said I should use Logo. Others say I should use Scratch. I find your argument compelling about the purpose of Logo being a philosophy of learning as well as programming language. Thus I have two questions:

    1. Would you recommend using Logo for my course?
    2. Are you aware of any Logo curriculum designed for secondary schools that I can access.

    Thanks so much,

    • 44. alanone1  |  July 13, 2016 at 7:43 am

      Hi Bob

      P.S. I live about a mile from Brentwood school …

      I made quite a few favorable comments about LOGO in comments above.

      The most important thing to ponder here — both in general, and with regard to LOGO, or any other language — is “how good is the fit of a programming system to the important issues in which we think children should get fluent?”

      For many things (as we’ve heard above) LOGO compares favorably. There are a few misfits.

      The biggest misfit is that vanilla LOGO doesn’t have good provisions for dealing with one of the strongest views of all parts of our situation: “The systems we live in and the systems we are”.

      However, a lot can be done by noticing that pretty simple and graceful extensions of the turtle can provide a much more comprehensive language environment for building and exploring systems. One exciting look at this some years ago was Mitchel Resnick’s “Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams” thesis, which introduced “StarLogo”, a massively parallel version of LOGO. There are several offshoots of this today that you should look at (Starlogo NOVA, NetLogo, etc.).

      And there are a few other systems of possible interest, but I want to point you at the general principle that “A systems view of things is very powerful, and should be one of the *obligatory properties* of any modern programming system for beginners”.

      We’ve shown in the past that children can start right up with multiple “live” entities that can interact, and I would urge that you do this. The trick — as in all curricula — is to make the initial encounters fun and as bottom up as possible. I’d be happy to chat about this if you’d like.



      • 45. alanone1  |  July 13, 2016 at 7:57 am

        P.S. I should have pointed you towards what Irene Lee has done using NetLogo, and now Starlogo Nova, in project GUTS (Growing Up Thinking Scientifically). There is a lot of good stuff here, and a lot of food for thought.

        This is a very good general way to approach curriculum i.e. not just about programming per se, but “programming in the service of important and powerful ideas”. Which is very much in the LOGO tradition.

        You get the best of both worlds with this approach, whereas the “coding for all” movement tends to be much too myopic.

        • 46. Bob  |  July 13, 2016 at 8:02 am

          Yes. I recently discovered Project GUTS and I introduced it to a couple of middle school science teachers hoping that they may incorporate some systems thinking into their curriculum.

      • 47. Bob  |  July 13, 2016 at 7:58 am

        Thank you so much for replying. Being that the original blog post was from 2012, I wasn’t sure if it would still be read by many.

        I have dabbled with all the Logo variations that you have described and appreciate the potential of all of them.

        I would love to chat further some time and maybe even meet up when I am back in town. I am presently at Gary’s workshop, CMK in New Hampshire and will be back next week.

        If you are in town, I would love to meet up.

        p.s. One of the reasons why others are suggesting Scratch to me is the huge community that has developed around it. It seems that there is still a community for Logo users/experts/thinkers so one must search a little harder to find it.

        • 48. alanone1  |  July 13, 2016 at 8:13 am

          How about the week after next?

          That argument for Scratch is like telling someone “you should believe in the following bad idea because most people do” (we see this all the time in school — e.g. “math” — but we shouldn’t keep on doing it — the motto should be “Children First!”.

          Scratch is wonderfully supported, but it just misses a number of critical things that are needed, especially for older children. Ironically, one of the things left out was massive parallelism! This is a critical flaw (amongst others).

          Unsophisticates have the illusion that “Scratch is enough” and this is simply not the case!

          (Actually a super fast LOGO with access to modern graphics would be an interesting basis! One could make “from scratch” a darn good system for children (again ironically, there’s not enough you can do “from scratch” with Scratch).)

          The first sentence in the paragraph above was actually the basis for doing Smalltalk in the early 70s at Parc….

  • 49. Bob  |  July 13, 2016 at 8:19 am

    The week of the 24th would be perfect. One question, there are two Alans that had made comments in this thread. Are you both of them?
    My email address is Let’s make arrangements next week to meet.
    Thanks so much,

    • 50. alanone1  |  July 13, 2016 at 8:26 am

      Hi Bob,

      Yes, I’m both of them (for some reason WordPress now wants to log me in as my “Tron Name”).

      I’ll send you an email.



  • […] how students learn (and don’t learn) the programming languages that we currently teach?  Why did we give up on Logo when it’s still better than most languages for children today?  It’s a tough balance […]

  • […] and Java are), we still see longterm use. Even if we later realize how good something was (e.g., Logo for integration into curriculum), it doesn’t come […]


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April 2012

CS Teaching Tips

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