Talking Turtle

  • Published December 14, 1983
  • By Dave Catlin

BBC Horizon TV Programme on Logo and Turtle Robots

In 1969, when he created the Turtle robot Seymour Papert became the father of educational robots. Papert worked for MIT and became a consultant for Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) Technologies.  As part of that work he invented LOGO a computer language for education. These were the days of before desktop computers existed. People were creating high-level computer languages for specific purposes.  For example, they’d invented FORTRAN for mathematics, science, and COBOL for business. When Papert devised LOGO he included Turtle Graphics –  a new approach to geometry.  When students programmed a Turtle robot they used mathematics to explore the world around them.  The BBC Horizon television series showed Talking Turtle in 1983.  It tells the story of Papert, his work and its development at MIT and Edinburgh University.

Bill Glass of Terrapin LOGO then worked for Harvard Associate, producers of a commercial LOGO. He recalls:

In the early days, educational software packages did not exist. LOGO did, so it became popular.

Bill Glass

In 1983, the BBC presented the ideas of LOGO and Turtles to the public through their science programme Horizon. It features Seymour Papert and presents key ideas still relevant to educational robots. The following videos present this historical record.

Talking Turtle Part 1

Talking Turtle Part 2

Talking Turtle Part 3

Talking Turtle Part 4

Talking Turtle Part 5


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