Teaching Collaborative Programming – a Creativity Adventure Using Lynx

Currently, it is important that teachers and students understand that they can contribute to the effective use of technological innovations in different formats and on different occasions, as well as new ways of using them in activities and projects in the classroom.

Making the teaching of programming possible through playful resources can be considered one of the keys to learning to think, figuring out new possibilities, persisting, insisting and solving and developing new 21st century skills.

The adventure for creativity can happen in many ways and one of them is using Lynx! I had not tried this tool before having been provoked to do so in FabLearn Fellows cohoort 3 to build a collaborative quilt, programmed in Logo and designed by the turtle. This is a traditional Logo design modified to use a new web-based Logo dialect called Lynx.

The teaching of programming has been considered a great lever in the teaching-learning process, as it goes beyond understanding how the computer and programming commands work, instigating logical thinking to promote new learning connections, especially when structured by so that students analyze their hypotheses and codes for solving the proposed activity.

The purpose of the activity was to recreate patchwork quilts, comprising mathematics in its everyday form, (not in a formal way, mainly seen in teaching materials), but in uniform pieces and sizes put together to create and elaborate geometric patterns, and that is an assembling of programming   and constructionism, through Logo language, having in mind that quilting traditions could be found in cultures all over the world.

The project challenged us to be responsible for creating at least one “patch” and this patch  was then shared with our peers’ patches  and each one of us took some of those patches and made a quilt from them.

In this sense, we went beyond a programming activity and digital inclusion, fostering engagement and effective participation in new ways of thinking and solving problems, rethinking the learning process not as an end, but as a process under construction.

It is no longer possible to imagine a society in which people do not need and make use of basic computer knowledge, considered important for contemporary living, mainly because of the association with basic knowledge of Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics or other sciences.

The activity resumed learning from Papert and the Constructionist approach to learning, which aims to promote the construction of knowledge. According to this premise, it is the child/young person who tells the computer what must be done, through the Programming Language.

Logo is not just a language, but also a philosophy about the nature of learning using technology (PAPERT, 1997), which provides students with conditions to explore their intellectual potential in developing information about different areas of knowledge.

One of the powerful ideas of Logo is that once you figure out how to do something, you can “teach the Logo” or “teach the turtle” a new word that will remember this sequence of instructions. These new words are called procedures. Procedures behave just like primitives, except that they are unique to a particular project.

For Papert, education has the role of creating the appropriate contexts so that learning can be developed in a natural way. What is intended with the Logo Language is to create an opportunity for a problematizing and creative environment. Hence the importance of proposing significant challenges like the one we are experiencing, related to topics relevant to student learning, so that they can seek innovative solutions and represent themselves using Logo.

One of the main lessons learned in this type of activity is the one of allowing   students to express the resolution of a problem through immediate feedback on actions. Thus, they can compare their initial ideas with the result obtained with the use of the program; analyze and reflect on their successes and errors; raise hypotheses; make new attempts, check their concepts and ideas and so, build new concepts from those.

Based on this premise, there are many benefits of language as the teaching of programming in the classroom, allowing a reflection on this theme integrated into the teacher’s practice and promoting the use and production of technology in the construction of knowledge in several areas of knowledge and that we can always venture into the world of creativity!

 

My Quilt

 

 

My quilt using the patches produced by my peers

 

 

References

RESNICK, M. Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play. The MIT Press, 2017.

PAPERT, S. The networked family: overcoming the digital barrier between generations. Title original: The Connected Family: bridging the digital generation gap. Lisbon: Water Clock Editors, 1997.

One Comment

Toni Kaui

Aloha e Debora,

Like you, this was my first experience with Logo/Lynx, and I truly enjoyed it. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I shared the exact activity with my students. They enjoyed it as well but took it further by learning how to do more advanced actions, such as movement, using Logo/Lynx.

I’m hoping to be able to do more with integrating coding into my projects and encouraging my students to continue exploring on their own.

Thank you for your post.
Toni

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