The Classic Roamer came out in 1989 – the same year NCTM published their first Standards. Around 1995 we’d gathered enough experience to match how Roamer worked with those Standards. Of course, the Standards have changed and people still argue about the best way to teach mathematics. Yet the maths hasn’t changed and Roamer’s ideas still work.
In his classic book, Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and powerful Ideas, the founder of educational robots, Seymour Papert set out a vision of how computers could change school. In The Children’s Machine he now looks back over a decade during which American schools acquired more than three million computers and assesses progress and resistance to progress. Published by Basic Books. (more…)
Teachers and educators quickly took the opportunity to explore what Turtle robots had to offer Special Education Needs (SEN). The same happened with Roamer. Within a few months of the Classic Roamer’s launch, Valiant got reports of SEN applications for their new robot. It seems obvious that technology has a lot to offer. Yet, teachers had to adapt mainstream technology to meet student’s needs. The diversity of special needs presented a challenging design problem. Valiant Technology took the first step in resolving this issue with SERP (Special Educational Robot Project). They sponsored several practising special education teachers working for their master’s degrees to evaluate the Roamer as a SEN asset. Their brief: review the Classic Roamer as a SEN Teaching Aid and report on how to make it better suited for the task. Running the course at Canterbury Christ Church College, Mike Blamires, was familiar with both Turtle and Roamer robots oversaw the production of these reports. Because of this work, Valiant launched the SEROTA project which led to them to develop the current Roamer. This robot forms the basis of a SEN solution.
This article was originally published under the title – Tactile turtle: explorations in space with visually impaired children and a floor turtle – in Vol. VII No 1 of: The British Journal of Visual Impairment , Spring 1989. Extracts were also printed in Vol 1 of Valiant’s Go Magazine, January 1990 and were on the old Valiant Web Site under the title: A Roamer in Space. In this article Roamer and Turtle floor robots are synonymous. (more…)
This is a glimpse of Seymour introducing Logo and Turtle Geometry. The videos were taken from Seymour Papert on Logo a video series made by William and Elizabeth Schwartz, Ladue, Missouri.
Here Papert introduces the simplicity of the Turtle idea.
Now Papert shows how quickly you can use this simple idea to explore geometric ideas.
Papert explains the connection between the Turtle and body geometry (technically called body Synconicity). The ERA Principle of Embodiment claims this connection is stronger between student and physical robot compared with that of student and screen Turtle.
What I like about this video is Seymour shows that Logo and Turtles do not simply explain mathematical and coding ideas: they encourage students to explore. The spirit of “What if we did this?” is at the heart of educational robots.
The On Logo and On LogoWriter videos are copyright Media Microworlds Inc.
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…)
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.
This essay was published as the Foreword to Seymour Papert’s book Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas (Basic Books, New York, 1980).
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.