Did you ever use robotic instructions to drive a triangular “turtle” around in the days before we all had a “mouse”? You have this guy to think. [LINK]
Papert’s career traversed a trio of influential movements: child development, artificial intelligence, and educational technologies. Based on his insights into children’s thinking and learning, Papert recognized that computers could be used not just to deliver information and instruction, but also to empower children to experiment, explore, and express themselves.
Papert was among the first to recognize the revolutionary potential of computers in education. In the late 1960s, at a time when computers still cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, Papert came up with the idea for Logo, the first programming language for children. Children used Logo to program the movements of a “turtle”–either in the form of a small mechanical robot or a graphic object on the computer screen. In his seminal book Mindstorms: Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas (1980), Papert argued against “the computer being used to program the child.” He presented an alternative approach in which “the child programs the computer and, in doing so, both acquires a sense of mastery over a piece of the most modern and powerful technology and establishes an intimate contact with some of the deepest ideas from science, from mathematics, and from the art of intellectual model building.”
I spent some quality time with Terrapin LOGO on the Apple II back in the day. It was not a cheap thing to acquire (and yes, my mom actually bought it for me). I wish I’d spent more time with it instead of drifting off to the next shiny thing. I’m trying to keep my oldest from doing/being the same in that regard.