#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: First day

Good morning. This is the first day of the “Coding with LibreLogo: A step back into the future” eTwinning Learning Event.

All messages related to this event sent through this blog, the Facebook or Twitter channels will be tagged with #lltas18: LibreLogo at school 2018.

Today the enrollment is still going on. We have some 230 participants so far, thus 20 places are still available.

In the meanwhile, today you are expected to browse the course, as described in the previous post.

In particular, please spend some time in getting familiar with the discussion place in https://www.reddit.com/r/CodingAtSchool/, because this will be the information hub for all technical problems.

This blog (iamarf.org) through post comments
Twitter: @iamarf
Facebook: iamarf
Email: arfATunifi.it

The reason is that there all questions and answers are easily seen by everyone and, most important, answers and ideas may come for the participants themselves.

Remember: your sharing of problems and ideas is crucial. You’re the ones who can give life to the class.


#llats18: Kick off eTwinning Learning Event

Coding with LibreLogo
A Step Back into the Future

1. Shortly

1.1 Contents

The contents are available in the eTwinningLearningLab, which is a space reserved  to eTwinning members, but they can be found in a companion MOOC as well, which is free.

The MOOC, Coding at School with Free Software, is self paced and can be attended by everyone, just make a free account when enrolling. It shall be available until 17 november 2018.

eTwinners are encouraged to take advantage of the MOOC as well, since the tutorial videos may be helpful for the activities.

All the examples discussed within the contents can be downloaded in a zip file. The same file is available both in eTwinningLearningLab and in the MOOC.

1.2 Discussion

A reddit channel is available here: CodingAtSchool. The discussion is open to everybody, regardless they are eTwinners or not.

1.3 What’s going on now…

Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 people are expected to browse the materials and, eventually, do some initial activities.

On Tuesday, in the eTwinningLearningLab there will be a live event. This first event will be for helping you in finding your way.

1.4 But I want more instructions…


  1. read carefully and watch the videos in the first lesson
  2. if you feel adventurous then read the second lesson as well, download LibreOffice and activate the LibreLogo toolbar, then begin to tinker with the Turtle…

2. More details

2.1 Contents

The structure of contents of the eTwinningLearningLab and MOOC versions is the same and it is constituted by the following ten chapters:

  1. A step back into the future
  2. Hands on the tools
  3. The fear of math
  4. Drawing with LibreLogo
  5. Turtle Geometry
  6. More fancy commands
  7. The Turtle does the turtle
  8. Recursion, growth, fractals
  9. Marta’s story – The Turtle Total Trip Theorem
  10. Starting to go ‘round and ‘round… to the Halley comet

Contents cover a broad range of contexts, from primary school to upper secondary school and in one case first year of university college. Don’t be afraid if something may appear too complex, just pick up what’s good for you and work well on this.

During the ten days of the eTwinning Learning Event, three or four live events will take place, the first one on Tuesday 18. There will be two replicas, one at 18:00 and the other at 18:30, in case the participants will be more than 100, being this the maximum allowed number for a live event.

On the other hand, in the Coding at School with Free Software MOOC you’ll find three or four videos per lesson of ~6 to 10 minutes each, most 6 to 8. They are meant to better clarify the written texts and to give support in the proposed activities.

By being in the eTwinningLearningLab you benefit from the wonderful eTwinning community and from 3-4 live events.

By browsing in the MOOC you take advantage from many extra videos and a smooth mobile experience, whereas you are finding such devices more convenient for reading and watching. Be aware, however, that if it is right to use a mobile device for reading and watching, you’ll need a computer for all the coding activities.

Again: eTwinners do both!

2.2 Discussion

A reddit channel is available here: CodingAtSchool. The discussion is open to everybody, regardless they are eTwinners or not.

The involvement in a common discussion is important. This course is very much about activities that require a lot of exercise and sharing may be a powerful mean to create a learning community. The incredible boost of free software development since some 30-40 years is largely due to the attitude of sharing problems and solutions in public discussion places. We are going to do very well if we’ll adhere to such a practice. And this is also good to transmit to our kids…

In order to use it, you have to signup for free. It’s very easy and, at any rate, there are tons of tutorials out there. Here you have couple of short ones, one for signing up…

…and one for basic use…

I’m asking you to use Reddit whenever possible. This is useful because by using a pubblic communication channel, every question and every answer are shared, thus optimizing communication flows. Moreover, answers given by participants may be even better than teacher’s one.

However you can reach me also through the following channels:

This blog (iamarf.org) through post comments
Twitter: @iamarf
Facebook: iamarf
Email: arfATunifi.it

In these last cases, please use the following hashtag: #llats18 (stands for LibreLogo At School 2018).

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