At the Constructionism Conference 2016, Bangkok, Thailand, Cynthia Solomon received a Lifetime Achievement Award. As one of the people involved from the start Cynthia took the opportunity to talk about the history of this remarkable project. This is a video of her presentation.
In 1983 a teacher and aspiring journalist Anth Ginn introduced me to the ideas of Seymour Papert and Turtle Robots. I loved it and set out to design my first educational robot. I was a mechanical engineer working on different contracts so I knew large numbers of talented people. I soon got a team together: Dave Ewins to do the electronics, Graham Carpenter for the software and Peter Pavlitski who organised the production. The result was the Valiant Turtle. The British Design Council included it their book the Best of British Design and I soon found out that education was how I wanted to spend my working life. We sold the last Turtle in about 2010 (we could not get the parts to make them anymore). A few days ago I came across Simon’s blog. He kindly let me add it to our records. I hope you find it interesting – Dave Catlin. (more…)
This is a general list of sites and resources that provide useful information.
At the Paris Constructionism Conference held in 2010 Celia Hoyles interviewed Logo pioneers Cynthia Solomon and Wally Feurzeig and Logo advocate Gary Stager about the history of Logo. This fascinating interview reveals some of the thinking behind the whole endeavour.
Wally Feurzeig was the led the project that produced Logo and the first educational robot – the Turtle. In this paper delivered at the 2007 Euro Logo Conference in Bratislava Wally presents some fascinating details about the development of Logo and Turtles. It puts many of the issues into context. If like me you are interested in the history of the development it does answer some of the mysteries hidden in the sands of time. More importantly it revives the educational philosophical precepts that offered such hope. Alas it also discusses how the influence of political bean-counters have strangled something so beautiful.
Sometime in 1983 a friend said he wanted to talk to me and asked me to visit. I duly arrived at his home near London’s Clapham North Tube station and found another friend, Derek Deardon, also in attendance. This was an evening that changed my life. Our host was Anth Ginn, a primary school teacher and aspiring journalist. In those days he was also tutoring children of VIPs who breezed into London with their families. Derek was an electronic and I was a mechanical engineer. Anth wanted us to design a robot Turtle he could use with his VIP students. He proceeded to tell us about Seymour Papert, Logo and Turtles. I had served an engineering apprenticeship, gone to University and then worked for 15 years as a contract design engineer honing my skills in industries as diverse as jet engine, oil rigs, computer simulators, car production lines… a long list. Despite all the study, training and experience I was aware that my chief skills were the ability to think, analyse and problem solve. Here was Anth telling me about an educator who wanted wanted to teach kids to think. I was sold. Yesterday I was going through Reuben Hoggett’s excellent web site Cyberneticzoo.com and there was a copy of an article Anthony Ginn interviewing Seymour Papert. This is a reproduction of the interview first published in Practical Robotcs Nov – Dec 1984. (more…)
This essay was published as the foreword to Seymour Papert’s book Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas (Basic Books, 1980). It describes a seminal experience as a 2 year-old. This experience, invisible to researchers (had they been there) was the catalyst to Logo and Educational robotics.
The Logo Memos were a series of Research Papers written by various people at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab from October 1971 to December 1981.
This list was compiled by Andru Luvisi.
In 1969 Professor Mike Paterson was young English Computer Scientist visiting Bolt Beranek and Newman. Seymour Papert gave him the task of writing a specification for the first educational robot, which was initially referred to as the LOGO ambulatory executor and more prosaically as the Bug. Later named the Turtle in reference to Grey Walter’s early work with Tortoise Robots. This is the first of two documents by Mike relating to the development of Turtle Educational Robots. This document was provided by Wally Feurzeig of BBN Technologies who led the project that invented Logo.
In the mid to late 1960s computers were starting to become available. These were in the form of a Programmed Data Processor or PDP made by the Digital Equipment Corporation or DEC. Computer languages were being developed. It was in these circumstance that Seymour Papert invented Logo – a computer language designed for children. The idea for this child friendly language arose during a blue sky development project undertaken by Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) Technologies for the USA Navy. The project was aimed at finding ways computers could be used to train navy personnel. Wally Feurzeig who led the project did deal with the Navy’s programme manager Glen Bryan. When approached about the idea of spending Navy cash in this way Bryan suggested that it would be ok to work with what he called “Military Brats”. So in 1967 a project was started at the Hanscom School on the Hanscom Air Force Base in Lincoln, MA. The final report for this project was sent to the Navy in March 1969 and was written by Feurzeig and Papert. The relevant part of the report is attached to this post as a pdf.