How do you know you have a good app? I like an app that does something a traditional worksheet didn’t, and it let’s kids be creative while mastering a concept. One of my favorites is Logo Draw.
With a very limited choice of commands, students move the turtle and its pen to create intricate designs and gain a thorough understanding of geometric concepts.
Here is a neat design created using Logo Draw.
This, of course, is not new. Just look up Logo and children’s programming in your favorite search engine. What is new is the facility with which students can create and share these designs on an iPad.
Update: John Hendron asked on Twitter why I thought Logo Draw might be fun. I think it is fun applying what you learn, not just learning for the test. If I can apply what I’m learning about angles, degrees, rotation, symmetry, distances, etc, to make something pretty, why not? It certainly beats answering the odd problems on page 156 for homework. The result is beautiful and memorable.
This app would lend itself beautifully for a cross-curricular lesson bringing Math concepts into the Art classroom. We have done this once before in Goochland, using the DesignBlocks website with students in Ms. Tolson’s class.
I think a few people are tired of hearing me rave about DesignBlocks. I’ve blogged about it, talked about it, and now I’ve made a short video showing off what anyone can do using this very cool tool.
I spent the last few days of my summer break in Boston attending the Scratch Conference at MIT. I have so much to share with teachers. This, added to what I saw and did earlier in the summer, has me very excited about this new school year. I just need to get all my thoughts organized so I can share with teachers and students.
It was great getting to hear Mitch Resnick and his colleagues speak about Scratch, the culture that surrounds it, and the new developments we can all anticipate. Scratch is truly an amazing tool for 21st century learning. I have lots of new ideas of what to do with Scratch. And, I learned about a really cool new tool to help everyone get started with Scratch. Take a look at the cool stuff you can make using DesignBlocks.
But, not everything was about Scratch. We got to hear a panel discussion in which Sherri Turkle and Henry Jenkins shared thoughts about participatory culture and how technology has changed the way we behave, both privately and in public.
I have to confess, when my travel companions were going on and on about how excited they were to hear Henry Jenkins, I was not sure who he was. I can remember numbers and images, but never names… A quick Google search took me to his blog (very cool, by the way) and got me just as excited. I started my summer teaching Scratch, then spent the middle part of my summer reading about games in education, and here I was at the Scratch conference listening to the man behind Ed Arcade, which had provided a lot of the information I’d read in Orlando at the Apple Institute. Pretty cool.
So, my summer has come full circle, from Scratch, to games, and back to Scratch AND games. Next, get all this into teachers’ heads and students’ hands. It is going to be a fun school year.