Here is the source code to LLogo in MACLISP, which I stashed from the MIT-AI ITS system. It's a fascinating historical document, 12,480 lines of beautiful practical lisp code, defining where the rubber meets the road, with drivers for hardware like pots, plotters, robotic turtles, TV turtles, graphical displays, XGP laser printers, music devices, and lots of other interesting code and comments.
Here is a Logo Adventure game I wrote for Terrapin, the first program I ever sold, which they distributed with C64 Terrapin Logo, because they wanted a simple non-graphical game that showed off Logo's list processing capabilities:
Seymour Papert greatly inspired me, and I applied his work on Constructionist Education to the open source version of SimCity for the OLPC.
Just take a look at Hubert Dreyfus' work to better understand the issue.
(+ here's a link to Dreyfus' essay Why Heideggerian AI failed http://cid.nada.kth.se/en/HeideggerianAI.pdf)
Neat. Think it'll run on UCB? Those Terrapin licenses are expensive.
I think I might need some of your nitrous oxide for the LLogo sources, though. I am not fluent in maclisp. :-)
There's nothing like looking at the screen and seeing something that you made come to life for the first time. And there's nothing quite like being given a problem that seems impossibly hard at first, cracking it, and seeing the result in front of you. It was a magical moment, and though I would not do any more work in logo (UCBLogo wouldn't compile for me), that sense of wonder and magic, and that amazement and the feeling of looking at something, and understanding the complexity that makes it work, and knowing that you designed it, built it, and made it work, that is why I program. For the sheer joy of it.
Thank you Seymour, for everything.
Papert on the turtle, children and the physical version:
Many today trot out the Poignant Guide, "Learn You A ..." and related efforts as the future of computer education for young people.
I say give them Logo: I was taught by a schoolmarm with no particular programming background in a public school with 20 other kids. I myself didn't have a computer at home but Logo showed me what I was missing by inserting itself into the curriculum of the "new digital economy": driving kids who would have never used a computer to be programmers. The examples and challenges were fun, deep and made writing toy programs a joy.
To this day, Logo seems to crops where I least expect it: A clever t-refplace joke in the pioneering zine "Mondo 2000" (as well as ads for Terrapin), a Larry Wall interview and even my recent toy implementation of the inconvergent tree: http://zv.github.io/algorithmic-tree.html use knowledge I first learned on Logo.
Today, Seymour and Logo are titans, if only to me.
`crtdo` a new turtle in his memory.
Although, The Poignant Guide has a special place in my heart as well. It may not introduce programming amazingly well, or anything, but it managed to transcend the format of tutorial, and stands alone as a fascinating and entertaining read. I didn't care about the ruby: I wanted to know what would happen to the cartoon foxes, and if The Originals would be stopped.
After coming back from something involving a very weak course on programming (You know how they say that you can either teach what to think or how to think? this teaches neither, somehow.), it's wonderful to see in logo, scratch, the Guide, hell, even SICP, a willingness to teach not only how to think, but why it matters, and the joy it can bring (not that I'm suggesting we use SICP to bring in kids. shudders)
Between somebody who learned a bit of Logo, and maybe was given some excercises, and somebody who did the Hour of Code, one of them has a better understanding of what programming is about, and is more likely to see its appeal (hint: It's not the kid who did the HOC).
I also read his books and papers, and did a PhD with one of his best-known students, and never failed to come away thorough amazed by his vision, his dedication, and his ability to execute on so much of that -- partly through great research, partly through great execution on his own, and partly through inspiring generations of students of all ages and backgrounds.
Indeed, my PhD research was driven by my interest in pushing Papert's vision one step closer to reality. And my work training at companies around the world constantly tries to make things more constructionist, more exploratory, and thus better for my students.
If you haven't yet read Mindstorms, you should. You might think that it's a book about using Logo to teach kids, but it's not. Rather, it's a book about how children think and learn, and about how to encourage them to think and learn.
It's terribly sad that Papert has passed away, but his vision and ideas live on amount countless people who are better thinkers and educators as a result.
In addition, my own first exposure to computers with with LOGO on an Apple II. Papert changed my life, and the enduring quality of his work will continue to change lives for years to come.
Arduino seemed to be click the best, because it involves a lot of working with your hands (both breadboard and soldering) and you can "see" your creation working in a way that you just don't get with pure-software teaching. At least for the ages I was working with (8-10 y/o) blinking a LED held more joy than putting a 2D sprite into a window.
I thought about publishing a more formal project curriculum, but there's a ton of Arduino project books already on the market, so it didn't seem worth it. Instead I just pitch a couple ideas to the kids, see what they want to do, then we spend several sessions building that.
Scratch is the spiritual successor to Logo.
As Scratch becomes more and more popular, it has been sad to say that there is a tension between the spirit of Scratch and commercialization. Scratch is all about exploration and making mistakes and experiential learning. However, there is a deluge of companies who are trying to create curriculums for Scratch that fit into the traditional School lesson models (canned, cut and dry).
Here are some of the better alternatives:
Google has developed the CS First program which uses Scratch. The interesting thing about this program is that it tries to scale the problem of teaching CS by making it less necessary for the teacher to know CS.
There is also a curriculum guide for Scratch.
Also, check out Snap! the Scratch 2.0 successor to BYOB that is essentially a stealth Scheme.
I like scratch, but it seems so Bubble Gum. Logo on an Apple II had a beautiful austerity to it.
As examples, the blockly  library makes it easier for devs to build blocks-based programming interfaces for a lot of systems. It's been used in App Inventor for building android apps , by some of the Code.org (and other) tutorials for hour of code, and excitingly there are some moves to build lego mindstorms programming environments in blockly too ( as well as a blog post from google that I can't find right now, ironically, stating they were working with lego on an official one)
I'm sure there's other stuff out there I'm missing, including classic stuff (like the Boxer programming environment, of which I'm a huge fan), but Papert's legacy measured by the work and people has inspired directly and indirectly is enormous.
"GP is a new blocks-based programming language being developed by John Maloney (most well-known for developing Scratch), Jens Mönig (developer of Snap!), and Yoshiki Ohshima (one of the developers of Squeak EToys) in Alan Kay’s group. They are all part of the new partnership between Alan Kay and Y-Combinator Research: HARC (Human Advancement Research Community). GP started in the SAP-funded CDG (Communications Design Group)."
Boxer was a pretty revolutionary programming environment when it was introduced (see  for an example paper from 1986). Great computing ideas (object oriented, dynamically scoped variables, visual programming environment), and an amazing space for pedagogical application.
Imagine that instead of a paper notebook, you could write your ideas in a computational medium that could pretty easily create and run dynamic representations. That's something people keep inventing and re-inventing, and Boxer was one of those really early models.
One core problem (again, all of this is IMO) was that the driving force behind Boxer (Andrea diSessa) utilized it in smaller-scale research. That's not to say diSessa's research wasn't really important - it really was. There's a ton of super-important learning sciences contributions to what we know about how people learn, the nature of concepts and misconceptions (calling into question the very nature of misconceptions as a useful category), and how people's ideas change over time. But that's kind of the problem - diSessa used Boxer as a way to create really interesting environments for his research on learning and knowing. It was never given the heavy-duty push that logo and later stuff from the MIT media lab had. For example, Mitch Resnick and Yasmin Kafai co-edited "Constructionism in Practice", which was a pretty good book that showcased a ton of the applications of logo to teaching (and their work tended toward whole-school interventions).
All that said, as of a few years ago, I believe there was both a windows and mac version of boxer and it was still under development. I'm not sure if that's still true- diSessa has retired, and his website seems unreachable now.
I don't blame the commercial vendors -- they are following the public-policy-directed money. I blame the schools for their culture of top-down control and conformity.
My one complaint is that a lot of Montessori teachers seem to have a blanket distaste for all electronics that lumps the good (Scratch and Logo) in with the bad (passively watching videos all day).
Although Papert is most known for Logo, he did not believe learning how to program was specially good in itself.
It is the fact that the computer allows the child to model almost everything (at almost no cost) that allowed that child to develop and fall in love with a topic, the same way he fell in love with gears at a very young age.
In his own words : "It did not occur to me that anyone could possibly take my statement to mean that learning to
program would in itself have consequences for how
children learn and think. [...] But encouraging
programming as an activity meant to be good in itself
is far removed, in its nature, from working at
identifying ideas that have been disempowered and seeking ways to re-empower them."
 Papert - "Mindstorms" in the Foreword: 'The Gears of My Childhood'
 Papert - "What’s the big idea? Toward a pedagogy of idea power"
"A modern-day Montessori might propose, if convinced by my story, to create a gear set for children. Thus every child might have the experience I had. But to hope for this would be to miss the essence of the story. I fell in love with the gears. This is something that cannot be reduced to purely "cognitive" terms. Something very personal happened, and one cannot assume that it would be repeated for other children in exactly the same form.
My thesis could be summarized as: What the gears cannot do the computer might. The computer is the Proteus of machines. Its essence is its universality, its power to simulate."
Seymour Papert was "co-creator of Logo" in much the same way that Doug Engelbart was "creator of the mouse". Their ideas were bigger than something you can fit in a headline. Papert believed that computers had a unique potential to help us learn and think. Anyone interested in computers or education should check out his book Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas.
Leigh Klotz wrote a 6502 assembly language assembler in Logo for Terrapin Logo for the Apple ][ and C64, which you could use to extend Logo do to anything you wanted, like interfacing to hardware.
I had an OpenGL spinning pyramid up in 10 minutes and an EXE for windows and an executable for Linux too. Pretty cool, but it is not being developed any longer. It runs fine on my Win 10 box and Linux Ubuntu 14 box.
I found it when looking into Logo because I was working with the modeling software NetLogo .
Could you elaborate on his thoughts on that ?
I too sometimes feel like I've missed out on a good education. But I feel it's too late now to change that. :(
This. I had a few good teachers at university that taught me a lot, this made it painfully apparent how little I was learning in some other classes. I guess it's the same everywhere but I suppose you'd expect that the prestige of the IIT would attract the 'better teachers' of course in practice it probably attracts the more prominent experts which isn't the same thing at all ;-)
I'd find it hard to quantify, but an IIT graduate can expect to earn atleast 4-5 times more than the average graduate over their life time.
And owing to the huge population , most people are simply locked out of a lot of the best jobs and positions which such an elite degree can open up.
His point was that there are many many many more students who don't make it to IIT, and feel that not going to IIT has led them to not be confident in their abilities.
Technology In Education The committee examined technological advances in education. OCTOBER 12, 1995
George Mason University
U.S. Chamber of Commerce->Domestic Policy
Apple Computer->Learning Concepts
Illinois->Board of Education
President and CEO
Senior Vice President
Robert W. Mendenhall
IBM->K-12 Industry Division
Massachusetts Institute of Technology->Technology
Chief Executive Officer
Shaw Investment Company
TCI Educational Technologies
On the other hand there's still a lot of teaching where a single person sits in front and tries to broadcast knowledge to a group of students, which to me seems absurd. The fact that the most obvious difference between schools now and 30 years ago is that whiteboards, powerpoint, and flatscreens have replaced blackboards, overhead projectors, and film projectors was perhaps predictable, but seems wasteful.
But if we think of the "education" in 5-year stages: the first is elementary school, the second is middle and high school, the third is college, the fouth is grad school.
So the the "life-long" educational computer budget for each student is $4000.
We played with it with my son and it brought back memories from the 80s when the French government made a big push on Logo in the schools.
(UD-036 Programming Foundations with Python, lesson 2A)
Yes. Here is an example of its use, that I wrote a while ago:
In primary school we had a robot turtle attached to a BBC Micro with a long cable which trundled around the floor drawing wonky shapes. At the time it was one of the most amazing things I'd seen - and was probably similar to, if not exactly the same as this: http://www.classicacorn.freeuk.com/8bit_focus/logo/logo.html
Later, in secondary school, I remember amazing our teacher by getting the Acorn Archimedes we had to produce multicoloured spirograph-like patterns.
Being able to type something - and then the computer actually going and doing it (or not) was both frustrating and fantastic, and left me with a lifelong interest in programming and learning new stuff.
Thank you Seymour.
IN MOST contemporary educational situations where children come into contact with computers the computer is used to put children through their paces, to provide exercises of an appropriate level of difficulty, to provide feedback, and to dispense information. The computer programming the child. In the LOGO environment the relationship is reversed: The child, even at preschool ages, is in control: The child programs the computer. And in teaching the computer how to think, children embark on an exploration about how they themselves think. The experience can be heady: Thinking about thinking turns the child into an epistemologist, an experience not even shared by most adults.
There's little risk that Papert's ideas will fail to last—they are already embedded in so much of how we think about programming—but reading that book helps to emphasize just how far we are away from the ideas he was able to see just by talking with people about how they learn.
Truly, truly inspirational man. I'm sad he's now gone.
Although the target audience differs a bit, Papert's work was the philosophical bedrock for the work we're doing. In fact, when the company was founded, it was agreed upon that it'd be best for all employees to read Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas. If you haven't read this book, and you are even the slightest bit interested in education and how we construct mental models, it's definitely worth the read.
I only hope he would have approved of what we've tried to build!
RIP, Seymour Papert.
A good memory is the day I found the Help page with instructions on how to draw a wireframe 3D sphere. This was my first successful introduction to the power of "RTFM".
Something I wish I could investigate; was the network infrastructure. I don't know if my school was special but there was a bit networked server that could communicate with other schools (we even had online contests). I also remember seeing its screen trashed. Teacher said "there's a virus.".
(yes, the lego robot gets its name from this book)
Mindstorms is on my backlog.
I have fond recollections about my first contact with Turtles. It didn't shape me or anything like that, but I'd like to take Logo out again and play with it.
Is there a recommended modernish Logo (running on Windows), or should I simply go to Processing?
It's a Smalltalk environment extended with a drag-and-drop scripting system. All (literally, all) of the graphical objects can be used as turtles (they have a "pen", and methods for "forward", "left"/"right", etc.).
The really nice part is that it's "turtles all the way down": the entire GUI (scripts, text, buttons, etc.) is made out of the same stuff as user-created objects; you can write scripts which tell other scripts how to move around; and write scripts to tell those scripts how to move around; and so on.
It comes with a bunch of pre-built objects, including a musical keyboard, a paint program, etc. and there are projects like "physical etoys" for hooking in physical sensors and actuators, so you can make a physical turtle.
A favorite quote: [O]n my reckoning, the fraction of human knowledge that is in the [school] curriculum is well under a millionth and diminishing fast. I simply cannot escape from the question: Why that millionth in particular?
When I last used Logo it was in mswLogo .
There's also Lhogho , Python's turtle module  and FMSLogo 
1: http://www.softronix.com/logo.html (not sure if this is the original site)
Oh, that's a great book.
The descendents of his multi-turtle Logo variant, StarLogo, are still going, including online.
"The central tenet of his Constructionist theory of learning is that people build knowledge most effectively when they are actively engaged in constructing things in the world."
"you cannot think about thinking without thinking about thinking about something"
My second earliest memory about computers centers around learning Logo on an Apple II (I believe) in third grade. I remember exactly what Seymour describes: being shown the basics, and then being free to explore by making the turtle do what I wanted it to. I remember sketching designs in a notebook and then asking enough questions about angles and distances to be able to implement my designs.
I think my love of programming comes from an equal mix of people like my father who I could learn from directly, and people like Seymour who created systems that made it possible to learn independently.
I wrote a simple LOGO program to honor Seymour Papert.
In grade 7 I used it to make an elaborate multi screen Sierra inspired game that took the better part of the year to make. What I would give to have a copy of it now...
RIP. Thanks for Logo and everything else.
Papert work is also present in most educational/programming toys we see today -
Scratch, Kibo http://kinderlabrobotics.com/kibo/, LittleBits, LEGO Mindstorms all owe their roots to Paperts ideas.
and more background info on him on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seymour_Papert
 is a great video from the early days of LOGO, and he's pushing notions of programming for all that felt new and revolutionary in the 2000s.
Mindstorms  is a great book if you're interested in his ideas about learning.
Later still I became a teacher, and learning about constructivism for the first time I encountered Seymour's published body of work. So mindblowing. The passion and the vision inspired my career.
RIP Seymour, you will be missed, but after what you have given to the world you will never be forgotten.
He was a very, very warm person that clearly loved children. I remember him juggling oranges (or balls?).
I wanted to work with Papert and implemented LOGO with graphics on the university's computers when I was 16 using an instruction manual from Bolt, Beranek and Newman (now BBN Tech). I still remember showing it to him.
Turtles, turtles all the way down.
Thanks Dr. Papert!
RIP Seymour Papert.
I think Bret Victor is right in that Seymour Papert's ideas are not useful only in teaching children about computers.
This essay inspired by Mindstorms is a great read
His spirit lives on in his books.
1984, Devotion School, Brookline, Massachusetts, Apple computers, Then at home: TI-99/4A.
Thanks for your work, Mr. Papert
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