Welcome to the
spring issue of Turtle Talk,
Logo newsletter from Terrapin Software.
New App Brings Bee-Bot to iPad
Bee-Bot fun and learning is now available at your fingertips with the new Bee-Bot app. Available for Apple iPad, iPod, and iPhone devices, the Bee-Bot app shows Bee-Bot directional keys by which a virtual Bee-Bot may be programmed to make its way around the garden, now in bloom for spring!
The Bee-Bot app offers 12 levels of difficulty with increasingly complex paths for Bee-Bot to follow. The app records the speed at which Bee-Bot arrives at the destination, encouraging repeat play and bolstering directional and planning skills. Like Bee-Bot itself, the app is quickly addictive and will become a fun and favored learning tool.
The Bee-Bot app was developed by TTS Group in England, originators of Bee-Bot. It is available for free download from the Apple App Store. This is the first of a planned series of Bee-Bot apps to bring the learning motivation of Bee-Bot to popular handheld devices.
Carnegie Science Center has successfully implemented the Hello, Robo! program in 132 Head Start and kindergarten classrooms in the Pittsburgh area. Hello, Robo!, includes an age appropriate robotics kit which Carnegie Science Center staff delivers to participating classrooms along with an initial presentation for the students and teachers. The kit is then left behind so that students and teachers can continue learning with Bee-Bot and other materials throughout the school year.
The goal of Hello, Robo!, which is supported by the Sprout Fund, is that early exposure to robotics technology could be a spark that will someday turn the preschool scientist into an adult scientist. According to Wendy Brenneman, Early Childhood Coordinator at Carnegie Science Center, "Preschoolers are natural scientists. Above all else, they're curious about everything, a litany of why, why, why that lends itself to days filled with discovery." Hello, Robo! instructors point out the parallels between students following a series of instructions and Bee-Bot completing the steps that students enter. Unlike the preschoolers, Bee-Bot always follows the program exactly!
Bee-Bot is also used in displays on Family Nights at Carnegie Science Center. This lets the young budding scientists show their parents and siblings what they have learned.
In addition to its well-known turtle graphics, Terrapin Logo offers a full range of music and sound through the computer's built-in synthesizer capabilities. This provides another inviting area for programming and linking computer utilization with off-computer skills.
The key to sound and music is Logo's PLAY command. PLAY takes a Logo list, specifying a series of musical notes along with their pitch and duration, as input and then plays them as specified. This utilizes Logo lists in a way very similar to a musical staff, offering a fun exercise in both musical composition and programming with Logo lists. PLAY can mimic over 100 different musical instruments and sound effects. In addition, PLAY can also play pre-recorded sound files in WAV format.
Terrapin Logo comes with a number of example music files to inspire further exploration. Found in the Examples folder on the Terrapin Logo distribution CD, these files illustrate a range of concepts from playing a single musical voice to using multiple voices, multiple instruments, changing tempo and pitch in repetitive sections, to combining music with graphics. Use PLAY to produce any of the 54 pre-recorded sounds in the Sounds folder, from "Ah ha" to "Yuk" or any others added there. Music and sounds are great motivators for students but can lead to cacophony in classrooms without earphones!
Constructionism 2012, the biannual meeting of the Eurologo community, will be held August 21-25 in Athens, Greece. The 2012 conference theme is "Theory, Practice, and Impact" and will focus on how constructionism can influence ongoing educational reforms. All are welcome.