Discovering Logo

My older son is in an accelerated math program at his grade school, and a few weeks ago he came home talking about Logo. This surprised me. I didn’t think Logo was much in favor anymore, and my daughter’s experience in the Naperville school system (she’s in high school now) led me to believe that “computer literacy” in District 203 was equivalent to “knowing how to use PowerPoint.” Maybe I got that impression because she wasn’t in the accelerated math program, but I think its more likely that the program’s new teacher is trying some new things.

Anyway, I installed MSW Logo on the family computer, and Older Son showed us what he had learned about Logo and turtle graphics. I did a little research and learned enough to show him the repeat and help him learn to draw “circles” by making many-sided polygons. We’re going to move on to making new words soon. I think an alphabet would be a good project, with word definitions like this:

to a
lt 75 fd 105 rt 150 fd 105
back 50 lt 75
back 25
fd 25 rt 75 fd 50 lt 75 fd 10

which is, I’m sure, more complicated than it needs to be, but is the sort of definition you get from exploring interactively until you get something that looks like an A.

If you go searching the Internets for Logo information, you won’t go far before running into Brian Harvey, a lecturer at UC Berkeley who’s written his own version of Logo—on which MSW Logo is based—as well as three books on Logo, all available for download from his site. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Harvey is that he’s a Marxist—exactly the sort of dangerous faculty member David Horowitz is always warning us about. (I won’t link to Horowitz himself, but I’m happy to link to a post about him.) Apparently, Harvey doesn’t breathe enough fire, as Horowitz has not seen fit to put him in the Discover the Network matrix.

(Following up a Horowitzian link from Michael’s site, I came across this stunning quote from the article on Pol Pot:

Months later the American “anti-war” left and its allies in the Democratic Party led by Senator Edward Kennedy brought down the Nixon presidency in the Watergate affair.

It’s this ability to cram so much error into so few words that makes Horowitz a beloved figure.)

Let’s see…brief swipe at local schools, programming, right-wing fantasists—I think it’s time for bed.