17 Responses to “mathophobia”

  1. loudonstearns Says:

    Seymour Papert is a very important man to me, personally.
    If you want to learn programming: play with LOGO.
    I played with LOGO for days at a time, when a child.
    Until now, I didn’t know who to thank for that amazing toy.
    For that is what it was for me at the time: programming was a game.
    Figuring it out is what it was all about– and still is.
    LOGO is a toy; make it a game.
    Change the way you think.

  2. isitagiraffe Says:

    or sign up for scratch2.0! a la lifelong kindergarten group at media lab. learn to program by interlocking blocks of code, like legos


    try it out

  3. loudonstearns Says:

    @isitagiraffe Scratch is awesome, thanks for this. Do you think that learning with Scratch will translate to coding/programming later? LOGO is a text based programming language like all standard scripting and programming language, and it worked perfectly for me. I wonder if students will be able to move from the graphic based, drag and drop object system, of scratch to text programming. My guess is that they will, for I had an easy time moving from LOGO to Basic to, well, whatever I have needed since.

  4. isitagiraffe Says:

    I think thinking about thinking is the most difficult introductory hurdle to programming, and once kids open up and get the hang of it, the following semantics (varying from language to language) are easier to pick up.

    A friend who launched Scratch says at conferences and such, she’s always blown away by the tiny preadolescent hacker coding ninjas who show up, and has indicated that many have forayed into other languages, but continue to use Scratch as a way to share their art and games with other kids.

  5. isitagiraffe Says:

    But, like you said, it’s the first hurdle that paves the way for the rest. So making that first hurdle as low as possible encourages the broadest entry level into something intimidating.

  6. loudonstearns Says:

    I think it is just awesome! This is a necessary addition to elementary education. Programming is the new literacy, or at least scripting. “thinking about thinking” “meta-cognition” Understanding logic, teaching a computer teaches us how to teach ourselves. I mean, I feel like I, personally, am a huge benefactor of this approach, but there are many other factors in my life that led to a comfort with programming. I will need to look up some research and see what has been figured out about programming and development. What I remember about LOGO was that it was cute, I could draw pictures with language, and a teacher brought in the LOGO robot that responded the same way that the onscreen turtle did, so my programs immediately started controlling a physical thing. So much clicked into place with that program. Now that I look more at Scratch, I realize that it is very similar to some IDEs that I have used, and some graphical programming languages used in Multimedia like Max/MSP/Jitter, Reaktor, and Quartz composer.

    One thing that I never understood: why do we abandon elementary school teaching tools(games, leaderboard, quiet time…) when we get older?

  7. loudonstearns Says:

    @isitagiraffe, thank you so much for posting this. I have a negative view of my own childhood, but this has brought up some really positive memories. This is one area where I achieved success and validation at a time when I was awkward, helpless, and outcast from peer groups.

  8. isitagiraffe Says:

    i was going to post pdfs regarding all this for my presentation, but look into mitch resnick (head of lifelong kindergarten group), who was a protege of papert, who was a protege of piaget.

  9. loudonstearns Says:

    Scratch is so much fun! Ok, gotta get some work done. I think there is GREAT opportunities to make real interactive artwork with this program. If you bring in your own images as the sprites, and your own sounds, this can be used to create all sorts of meaningful artwork. And it can be connected to an Arduino quite easily: http://s4a.cat/

  10. loudonstearns Says:

    @isitagiraffe – I am very excited for your presentation. Just came across lifelong kindergarten, awesome.

  11. loudonstearns Says:

    Have you read Mitch Resnick’s book “Constructionism in Practice”? it is expensive, but I think I may buy a copy…

  12. isitagiraffe Says:

    I’ll just post those links now. They aren’t directly related to my project, but convey the spirit of explorative, experimental learning that I’m after. I’m mostly interested in teaching a younger age set and have been reading a lot about learning lately…


    Of course constructionism is just one style. Some people really do learn better with repetition or visual cues or perhaps a hodgepodge of other such approaches. Anyway, point being, I feel it is helpful for us to be aware and receptive of different styles, as possible future educators.

  13. isitagiraffe Says:

    I’ve only got Mindstorms and Theories of Childhood. Anya Belkina has several of Mitch’s books though.

  14. isitagiraffe Says:

    oh hooray! i didn’t know about the arduino hookup! this makes life much more pleasant. just asked, apparently one of the arduino creators (david mellis) is in the lifelong kindergarten group. makes sense.

  15. loudonstearns Says:

    Hey there! I made my first “game” with Scratch, a Critique timer. This timer gives one minute for each of the 5 objectives of critique with sounds and sights. Feel free to improve it!


  16. loudonstearns Says:

    We should try to add an arduino button to this!

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