Students “drive;” teachers help them navigate and understand
Focused, intentional practice is necessary to build the skills needed to accurately generate mathematical syntax and put it together with rules for mathematical concepts and logical operations. This is a fact that math teachers have intoned to their students forever. But intentional, disciplined practice requires strong initiative—desire to put forth the effort. Volition, as it is called elsewhere in this site.
Early advocates of Logo use in schools often recommended minimal direction for learners, allowing them to discover for themselves big mathematical ideas. Research has not shown this to be effective in developing mathematical knowledge or the Logo language itself. While Logo seems to naturally draw students to investigate, interest wanes when structure is lacking. So, yes, effective teaching and learning requires structure.
But, why Logo now?
From the students’ view, two key sources of initiative are feelings of increased intellectual prowess (which increases social status and self-satisfaction) and high level of control over one’s learning. Personal control over one’s information sources (in general, one’s life experience) has long been known to support initiative, which is a main attraction of personal electronic devices. The easily editable–and geometry rich–generative learning environment of Logo offers superior control over the construction of mathematical objects of learning–and the generation of syntax to express them. The ability to manage pacing is an important aspect of user control. In the generative learning approach, students are drawn into managing development of adaptable intellectual skills with a focus on math that most students actually enjoy. You will see this effect even in many students who have shunned math and are generally at-risk of school failure.
General thinking habits that gradually develop as students actively engage in writing, operating, editing and discussing mathematical algorithms and products, with teachers’ increasingly insightful coaching day after day, warm students to mathematical activity, deepen their understanding, and increase their ability to solve problems with mathematical content they have not seen before. That students gain valuable collaborative skills around mathematics and learn to “handle the code” of a real programming language are additional benefits that further their progress toward becoming an excellently prepared entry-level employee.
There is far more to this story than we can detail here. Teachers who take our training will learn more about Logo’s powerful features as they actually work on lessons—as students do—and are coached in teaching the program. But you can go to this link for an advanced look at the many powerful features they’ll experience in our training workshops.