#llats18 -Recording of STEAM live event

Here you have the recording of the live event of tonight, about exploration, wonder, aesthetic pleasure, mixing of logical reasoning and art.

With this the Learning Event “Coding with LibreLogo: A step back into the future” is done. Good experience. We’ll talk about further in a next post.

For now, thanks to all the participants and the excellent eTwinning organisation!



#llats18 – Recording of last event, next event, polling about a possible group

First of all here you have the recording of the last live event (Wednesday 26), about simulation of animal behaviour and plant growth. The next (and last) live event is scheduled tomorrow, Friday 28 at 19:30 (the system does not allow me to schedule it later, on Friday…). It will be about exploration, wonder, aesthetic pleasure, mixing of logical reasoning and art. I watched all the works you uploaded in the Material section of the eTwinning LearningLab, as well as those you posted in other channels. That’s fine! There are also very nice works. However, there are also some complaining the course is too difficult. The contents you are being exposed is the same I’m using in a 9-weeks lab in the last year class of some 300 primary teacher students. Most of them struggle at the beginning, say during the first two-three weeks. Then, many of them start to be productive and often I’m overwhelmed by their creativity – see for instance Marta’s story in lesson 10. We will talk about it tomorrow in the live event. This learning event barely lasts two weeks, just twelve days. It is obvious that you are still looking for your way. We cannot hope to learn something seriously in such a short time, we need time, especially in intellectually demanding practices, such as writing computer programs. To learn something significant we always need time. We could have made things a lot easier. However, being aware that time is too short we preferred to offer the opportunity to broaden the coding scenario. Therefore, our aim was to let you know of possibilities that are usually not known. The free software LibreLogo is out there since years, but almost nobody knows anything about it. Moreover, almost nobody knows that with such a simple, even if very pedagogically sound system, you can begin to work with kids ending up realizing pretty complex experiments. And since among you there are teachers of all school levels, it seemed appropriate to offer all kinds of examples. Few reflect about the fact that to propose something free that can be used off-line is democratic, because it can be used in small budget contexts and poorly connected areas. Schools are located everywhere, not only in large towns and rich areas. That’s why I’m thinking to creating a group, where you keep finding all the tools and methods we are proposing in this course, perhaps even increasing them in time, and where you can continue discussing and proposing your ideas. I believe that, with time, many of those that are struggling, will find their way. This is the only way to experience the same sort of resurgence of my students, having the possibility to take all the time you need. In a long run it would be worthwhile to create a common project to share significant experiences and to support the developers community of LibreLogo with ideas for adding new features. Why not an Erasmus project? But in the short term I would be very grateful if you could express you opinion  about this perspective. Therefore I’m asking you to answer to the following poll. However, in order to answer to the poll, please go and browse for a while the existing Coding at Schools eTwinning group, Thank you!

#llats18 – Today live event: the Turtle does the turtle – growing plants

Today, Wednesday 26, at 19:00 live event about the Turtle simulating a turtle, growing fractals, growing plants. We will also add the pendulum example I just added to the virtual physics lab, following the suggestion Athina gave us in the last live event…

Simulation of a pendulum
Thanks for the suggestion Athina!


We will also spend some words about the possibility of creating a LibreLogo community, for exchanging ideas, examples, problems and, eventually, give back suggestions for further development of LibreLogo to the community of developers. Possibly a project? Is there anybody willing to participate in such an initiative?

We proposed to the eTwinning staff the creation of a group for this. They told us to explore the already existing Coding at schools group. This could be also a good idea. We’d love to hear what you think about that. You may comment here, in the discussion space, in the LearningLab mail, by regular email email..



#llats18 – Recording of last live event and more

Here you have the recording of the live event of yesterday, Tuesday 24, about syntonic learning at primary school and a physics lab for secondary school.


Among the feedback there are a few people claiming not being able to keep up with the course, they say interesting but too difficult and dense. For these cases, I remember that the MOOC and the discussion space will remain freely accessible to everybody in the following months.

There are still some asking what they are expected to do:

  • study the slides about the topics relevant for your teaching activities
  • watch the videos
  • think
  • download LibreOffice
  • activate LibreLogo Toolbar in LibreOffice
  • repeat the examples shown in the slides
  • try to change something, play with the code
  • if you like to do so, download the set of Logo programs in http://iamarf.ch/mooc/logo-odt-files.zip
  • upload your works in the Material section in the LearningLab (create your own folder there and place your files there)
  • ask in the discussion space if you have problems or you are willing to share ideas

There are other specific (very interesting) feedback… I’m working on them right now…

#llats18 – Live event: from syntonic learning with kids to a physics lab

Just to remember that this evening we have a live event at 20:00. The room will be open from 19:30.

It will be a kind of  “vertical” talk. In the first part we’ll discuss the concept of syntonic learning by focusing on the REPEAT [ FORWARD 1 RIGHT 1 ] Papert’s circle. This part concerns primary education. However, in doing this, we will realize the local nature of the process, and how this feature represents what in math are known as differential equations.

In the second part we will see how some typical physics problems faced in secondary education can be solved and better understood by formulating them in a programming language, Logo in our case.

We think the pace is dense enough, we do not add other for now 😉

#llats18 – Next live event, lots of feedback: linguistic, physics and more

Live Event

Tomorrow, Monday 24 at 20:00, we’ll have the next live event. It will be about Papert’s concept of “syntonic learning”, the inherent differential nature of Papert’s circle, LibreLogo as a physics lab.  As we did last Friday, we’ll open the room at 19:30, so that, while I’m preparing things, you have an additional opportunity to pose questions.


Linguistic –  not only math

Fabrizio made an interesting remix of the limericks exercise I proposed in lesson 3: in slide 12 you have the original exampl of Papert, in slides 16-21 our LibreLogo example. Fabrizio made a version for writing English limericks – download the code here. Here you have the output of three consecutive runs:

Random English computer limericks



“aginoudi” asked in Reddit:

I teach physics in a junior high school and I am very much interested to include coding in my teaching practice in order to inspire my pupils. I am looking for ideas!!!

When asked, aginoudi told us that the students are 12-18. For those that are interested in this topic, first of all I suggest to read a very interesting paper by Bruce L. Sherin: “A comparison of programming languages and algebraic notation as expressive languages for physics” (International Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning 6: 1–61, 2001).

It is worth the effort to read it because the idea of seeing code and mathematical formulas as different ways to describe the same physical concepts throws a different light on the whole coding issue. Similarly, in the last live event, we showed as in Turtle Geometry geometrical figures are represented by well determined pieces of code, that is, a fragment of code can be true mathematical object.

In the next live event we will discuss how, starting with the simple Papert’s circle that kids may be discover by themselves, we will find ourselves in a Physics lab.

These concepts are exposed in lesson 10. In particular, in slides 16-24 you have some exercises reproducing simple physical problems, at the secondary school level.

Here you can watch the solution for a mass (the Turtle 🙂 ) hanging from a spring. The simulation takes into account also a friction effect (proportional to velocity). In this example we have added an horizontal component so that we get the motion plot with time.

Hanging from a spring with time

All the examples discussed in the slides can be downloaded to let you experiment with them. Here you have the link: iamarf.ch/mooc/logo-odt-files.zip


Hanna wrote that she is interested in art, creativity and art. We have something to say. Just this for now…

Starry night with Logo
A Logo version of Starry Night

#llats18: Yesterday’s life event, feedback, next life events

Yesterday we talked about Turtle Geometry and three of the fundamental software constructs: loops, procedures and variables. It has been a good meeting.

We stressed the crucial notion that the first few instructions we have learned are those needed in Turtle Geometry and, most important, to teach Logo to kids. The instruction are:


HOME Send the Turtle to the center of the page
CLEARSCREEN Delete all the graphics in the page
FORWARD 100 Go forward by 100 points
RIGHT 90 Turn right by 90 degree
LEFT 90 Turn left by 90 degree


Repeat 4 times the instructions between square brackets

Encapsulate instructions between “TO name” and END in a procedure named SQ (or whatever you want to call it)


You may learn other commands in the following but these may be useful to produce fancy graphical effects or to teach other aspects in more advanced teaching contexts, for instance at the level of secondary school when facing Cartesian geometry.

Some of you wrote me complaining for having lost the meeting. Good new: I was able to record the whole session, except the first minutes. Here you are:


Antonio asked if in LibreLogo it is possible to switch among a text code and its block-based version one. No, in LibreLogo it is not possible. Of course, you can translate by yourself a Logo text into a Scratch blocks version, as we showed in slide 6 of the first lesson.

However there are scholars that are working on this, even if they are not addressing Logo but more general programming languages. An example is that of David Weintrop and Uri Wilensky. Here you have a recent paper of them on this subject: How the Block-based, Text-based, and Hybrid Block/Text Modalities Shape Conceptual Understandings of Programming Concepts.

They offer a web interface to let people tinker with a language they wrote to work both with text and blocks code in educational contexts: pencil.cc.

We are receiving artworks, for instance from Anabela in facebook, Federica, Fatma, Lica and Sanja in the Materials space of the LearningLab, from Francesco and Anabela in the Reddit discussion space.

By the way the Reddit discussion place is getting pretty alive. We are on the right way!

I will keep trying answering promptly to every question. However, if someone is feeling I’m forgetting something, please drop me a line by email (arfATunifi.it).

We are feeling that live events work pretty well, therefore we plan other three ones: Monday 24, Wednesday 26 and Friday 28, always at 20:00.

#llats18: for someone it’s time to share


Even if we are still at the beginning, someone is trying to show some results. For instance, this has been done by @fjbalsera in Twitter:

Or Federica who uploaded her work among the files in the materials section: https://learninglab.etwinning.net/62144/materials/files.

Here you have her first job:


The image is taken from the ODT file she uploaded.

From this code we see that she used software constructs we have not yet discussed, namely loops (REPEAT), procedures (TO…END) and variables (LL). This is good but not mandatory. What’s important is that everyone goes by its own pace.


Federica did exactly what you all are expected to do:

  • first created a folder with her name
  • then uploaded the work there

Please do so.

If you are proud of your efforts, or you want to point out a specific aspect, a problem, a particular solution, do notify the fact that you uploaded a file by writing it in a Reddit post (https://www.reddit.com/r/CodingAtSchool/), telling the name of your folder and describing the ideas you want share.


Next live event

In our last post, The fear of math and first drawings, we proposed a poll to get your preferences about the live event time. This is the result:

21    39.77% (35 votes)
20    30.68% (27 votes)
15    6.82% (6 votes)
17    6.82% (6 votes)
18    6.82% (6 votes)
19    5.68% (5 votes)
16    2.27% (2 votes)
Other: 1.14% (1 votes)

Total Votes: 88

Based on this outcome we are going to schedule the next live event tomorrow Friday 20 at 20:30.

We will talk about the Turtle Geometry and the three basic software constructs that Federica used in her work. The text is available in lesson 5, available in the LearningLab as well as in the MOOC.

P.S. 23:54

Well twelfe minutes ago another work shared by anasousa4 on Reddit.

Very good 🙂

#llats18: The fear of math and first drawings

Next live event

Lastly, we’ll have another live event on Friday afternoon. Let’s make a poll to find the most convenient time…

Who are we?

It’s nice to get the feeling of the community we belong. What does our community look like? Here you are:


We’re a southern team, aren’t we? What do you think?



There are people who claim to feel somewhat lost. That’s usual in these kind of courses.

Relax: it’s about discovering and getting familiar with new stuff, not about getting instructions or mechanical procedures.

When entering a new territory you cannot pretend to grasp all its features, possibilities, treasures, in just one stroke. You have to explore and to get familiar with new things, new scenarios, and this requires time.

Yes, it is true: ten days is a relatively short time but that’s it. Remember that the MOOC remains there, open for you, and that you can give yourself time to explore and experiment further in the future. And that we will continue to answer questions…

Ten years ago I participated to the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), given by George Siemens and Stephen Downes. It was about connectivism and it was quite chaotic. Since many of my classmates around the world were upset, I wrote a small piece, trying to relax them: Let’s go for a walk in a wood and relax…. If you feel overwhelmed, give it a reading…


Next steps

If you have gone through lessons 1 and 2, what’s next? Well, with relaxed and joyful mood, you may explore the two next lessons.

Lesson 3 is about Papert’s reflections on the fear of math. But if you are not much interested in the pedagogical background, just go ahead. Just one thing: in case you would like to have an idea of how it is possible to code a linguistic game with Librelogo and where this exercise is coming from go to have a look to slides 11,12 and 16-21 of lesson 3. At this point you can get just an intuition of this code. If you are really interested you will come back here when you will be more familiar with the Logo basic constructs.

If, on the other side, you want to begin putting hands on, follow carefully slides and videos of lesson 4.


#llats18: some running-in is still needed

Well, it’s first time.

We have 246 participants but 94 only visited the post of yesterday, 16 signed-up for the discussion area in https://www.reddit.com/r/CodingAtSchool/ and 3 signed up to the MOOC.  Not enough. These steps are important.

A guess could be that not all the participants access the LearningLab mailbox. If this is true, please visit it on a daily basis. At any rate we are going to make more use of home posts, where everyone lands when entering the platform.

This afternoon we’ll try our first live event: two replicas, one at 18:00 and the other at 18:30 CET; pardon us we didn’t specify time zone yesterday.


Yesterday Federica posted something interesting in Reddit. It was about the experience of a colleague of her about using Logo for teaching math, whereas all other teachers are using Scratch in her school. That’s goes straightforward to one of main topic of this course: to try critically revisiting the options available out there and, over all, to try not wasting important pedagogical reflections made pioneers of this area.

This matters are discussed in the first lesson, which we ask to study. In particular, go and browse the articles quoted in slides 10-13 of lesson 1 and 12-13 of lesson 2. I’m quoting the MOOC locations because it is easier to point to specific fragments of contents.

So, when I tell you to go and see some slides I mean to go in the MOOC:  https://www.federica.eu/c/coding_at_school_with_free_software.

This second day

In this second day, besides continuing browsing around, please go on downloading LibreOffice, activating the LibreLogo toolbar and begin tinkering with the Turtle. Resources for doing this can be found in lesson 2.

At the beginning (slides 1-4) you have an introduction of Logo, starting from Papert’s original work. In slides 5-9 some different Logo implementations are described. The course focuses on the use of LibreLogo but people willing to experiment other flavors can find their way here.
As already said, some reflections on the Scratch vs Logo issue are reported in slides 10-13. The video in slide 10 provides a very basic introduction of Scratch as well as Logo use, for those that are not familiar at all with such systems.
In slides 14-15 we explain why the LibreLogo implementation has been chosen.

The video in slide 16 is a tutorial for activating the LibreLogo toolbar in LibreOffice, something That is also discussed in the remaining slides. The instructions concern the management of graphics in LibreOffice document as well.

We do not anticipate other topics, for now. Only the following comment. In the following lessons, you have very different topics, some are good for primary school, others for secondary, with quite various level of difficulties. Do not worry if something appears to be weird or too difficult. Please, do concentrate on what you feel is good for you.

Later on we will create groups according with different interests, eventually.



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