A New Latin American Logo version
Eduardo de Antueno
Gavilan 2116 - 1416 Buenos Aires - Argentina
fax: +(54 1) 583 9806, tel: +(54 1) 581 2768
We think that action-oriented programming resonates well with the modern culture in which computer games and computer-generated animation are commonplace.This version allows user friendly programming of all kind of events who really allow kids program his own games.During the three last years a LOGO Version for Windows was developed with the accent on simulations and a special animation mode called "simultaneous animation". It is used actually by near 300.000 Latin American kids.This implementation, called GRAPHIC LOGO - was developed by a group of researchers in Argentina (SouthAmerica). The original version in spanish was translated recently to english and portuguese.
Latin american Logo, animation, events, sprites
1 Introduction: Computers on education and LOGO in Argentina
Nineteen eighty two (1982) could be fixed as the year when the debate on the use of computers in education first arose in Argentina.
In that year the First International Congress on Logo was held in Buenos Aires, with an attendance of more than a thousand teachers and the discussion arise among those who support the use of Logo as a exploring tool for knowledge construction and those who limited themselves to teaching Basic and general aspects of computers.
At that time there were only home computers with little RAM and therefore they were unable to run word processors, data bases or spread sheets.
During the '80s experiencies in this field multiplied, specially in an isolated or private way, without the support of neither provincial nor Federal Government.
Since 1983, the differents versions of Logo which were populars at this time had a lot of animation capabilities. TI LOGO first and MSX-LOGO after, allow Argentinian children to create a great variety of histories, games and cartoons. Both had 32 coloured sprites with speed and a very good shape editor. By the other side, TI LOGO worked only with integer numbers. Both had Spanish version and 64 Kb RAM or less.
In 1984 a group of 12 years old pupils of a little state school at Puerto Deseado - province of Santa Cruz , a patagonian city with only 5000 inhabitants placed 2000 Km from Buenos Aires city - produced with Logo a short video clip for a local TV channel. The director of the TV channel give them, as a present, a disk-driver for their school.
In 1985 the Second International Congress on Logo was held in Uruguai, in 1987 the Third in Brazil and in 1989 the Fourth in Chili.
By these days one of the authors of this paper (E.A.) have developed an animation with TI LOGO explaning the pumping mecanism of human hearth and its anomalous behavior caused by a disease named "Mal de Chagas" for a medical international convention.
Since 1984 a group of teachers and professors decided to create a non profit organization called N.I.D.I.E. Núcleo de Investigación y Desarrollo en Informática Educativa (Group of Research and Development on Educational Computing) that was the origin of FUNDAUSTRAL (*) (1991) the actual institution that have published the software GRAPHIC LOGO.
(*)Fundaustral is a non-profit entity whose main purpose is to promote the application of latest technology to education as well as to encourage activities aimed to further methodological changes at schools. The proposal of Fundaustral seeks to create a proper environment for the discussion of the scope of the application of computer technology as a didactic means of contribution to the process of learning, as well as to evaluate experiences and spread research findings.
In 1985 NIDIE has developed and published near of 40 educational Logo software to introduce children in the use of Logo and 6 softwares for MSX LOGO (for home computers) about science applications: an optical microworld, a kinetic microworld, etc. which have been presented to several LOGO National and International Congresses during the '80s in Chili, Uruguai, Brazil and Argentina.
"At this time I was giving advice and coordinating the activities in a traditional school of Buenos Aires with 16 "new" TEXAS TI 99/4A computers. During 7 years (untill 1990) children had designed hundreds of programs with interesting simulations. Also they had developed educational applications with curricular and non curricular themes." says Eduardo de Antueno.
In 1987/89 actual PCs invaded the computer market and home computers disapeared. Animation features were reduced dramatically with Logo Writer. RAM memory increased, text processing and mathematics possibilities grew but the reduction in the number of turtles (32 to 4) and the lost of the primitive SETSPEED makes difficult animation with more than one turtle. Sound features also decreased: TI LOGO had many music primitives with 3 simultaneous channels and it functionement with TV speakers!
The new versions was limited by PC hardware by the fact that home-computers included a special chip for movement control which made easy simultaneous animation.
In 1988 other of the authors of this paper, Carlos Grant, developed a Logo version for the IBM/340 because he was working in software simulation of nuclear reactors at the National Atomic Energy Commission (Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica). It was created as a tool for list-processing and make graphics with our old friend "the turtle".
2 A new Logo implementation borns
In 1992 E.A. - who presides Fundaustral - knows C.G. and propose him to give him pedagogical advice to develop a version of Logo with all the lost old animation capabilities.
"I considered that actually, animation mode are more important than graphic mode, by the fact that it includes equivalent learning about distance, angles and directions but adds learning about time and movement. By the other side, animation is more resonant with children culture because it seems to video games" said E.A.
Furthermore, animation mode adds to mathematics contents of turtle geometry, dynamic and kinetic contents and in this implementation children could explore some physical laws and real bodies behaviour (e.g. elastic collisions, friction, gravity, etc).
This is why in 1994 appears GRAPHIC LOGO 2.1 Spanish Version for D.O.S. and in 1995 the Windows version 3.0. The 4.0 Version was translated to portuguese and appeared in 1996 in Brasil with the name of TrendLogo. Actually 300.000 pupils in Latin American countries uses these versions in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguai, Costa Rica, Colombia and Chili. It has 60 sprites up to 125x125 pixels.
3 Physical Microcosmos
Many of the characteristics of the real world has been considered on the design of Graphic Logo and its primitives in order to help those programers who want to represent reality through the computer.
Figure 1 Graphic LOGO - Simulation of gravity force with sliders and buttons.
A sprite that starts moving in any direction when reaching a border of the screen rebounds elastically without loss of speed and energy. Two sprites that move and collide, they rebound according to the rules of elastic collision of two bodies of equal mass if the primitive ONBUMP was used.
It is possible to define many rectangulars blocks on the screen by using the DEFBLOCK primitive to make sprites collide with the borders.
With SETACCELY we can simulate the gravitational force and a body moves according this drawing the characteristic parabolic curves on the graphic screen.
Figure 2 The 256 color Shape Editor and the 11 button toolbar.
The event programming is a new technique that allow to develop anticipation strategies in children and teenagers. They have some relation with Object Oriented Programming, which that is nowadays a matter of interest for programmers and investigators. Papert mencioned it in Mindstorms as "when sprite" (Cap. 4).
13 different events can be managed, they are:
ONBUMP - ONBLOCK - ONLEFT - ONRIGHT - ONTOP - ONBOTTOM ONTIME - ONTIMEEACH - ONXCOR - ONYCOR - ONKEY - ONBUTTON - ONCOLOR
5 Others features