“Visualizing Learning with Turtle Art”

By: Walter Bender

There are certainly cases where applying objective measures badly is worse than not applying them at all, and education may well be one of those. –Nate Silver

Not to be deterred by Nate Silver’s words of warning, Claudia Urrea and I continue to work on mechanisms for visualizing learning Sugar. Along with the Pacita Pena and other members of the Learning Team, we have been designing rubrics that capture the level of fluency with the technology as well as the creative use of the individual Sugar tools by children. The rubrics are captured automatically in some Sugar activities, e.g., Turtle Art and a modified version of Write.  We are aiming for evaluations that look more broadly than those data that are captured by standardized tests. We just submitted a paper, “Visualizing Learning with Turtle Art”, in which we present some measurements calculated from 45 Turtle Art projects created by children working with Quirós Tanzi Foundation.

We claim that the rubric serves as a partial evaluation tool for open-ended projects. Partial, because it is only a measure of how the children used Turtle Art to express themselves, but not what they made or why they made it. But the rubric does have the potential to give some assistance to the teacher who is working within the context of accountability, without adding an additional burden of analysis above and beyond looking at the work itself.

We want children not just to learn about the computer, but also to learn with the computer. Providing activities such as Turtle Art that engage them in computational thinking in the context of personal expression is necessary, but not sufficient. Giving them tools for reflection enhance the learning experience. Giving their teachers simple-to-use mechanisms for assessment increase the odds that activities like Turtle Art will find more mainstream acceptance. Making it easier to assess open-ended projects lowers one of the barriers that are preventing more use of the arts in school.

The latest Sugar Digest: Turtle Art, Measure, buildbot updates

Notes from The latest Sugar digest:
A Sugar buildbot is now online. Turtle Art Mini and to Measure have recent updates. And Sugar localization is ongoing in Quechua and Aymara, and starting in Maori.

Buildbot’s waterfall view:

XOs & sOccket & World Cup

As weeping and cheering for today’s World Cup results spread across the globe, at OLPC we are hoping to recover enough to try sOccket’s power-generating soccer ball at our next weekly scrimmage. Since Ghana and Uruguay are XO countries we are exhausted from rooting for both sides.

Yesterday, Jessica Lin from sOccket visited us at OLPC and promised to trade a sOccket ball for an XO, in hopes that someday a XO can be powered by the energy of play.  Learning in play was strong thread of discussion this week at OLPC. We talked to Jessica about 60+ soccer programs around the world (like the Kabul Girls Soccer Club) that help children learn about teamwork, strategy, physics, and statistics as they participate in their favorite sport. Right to Play was another kindred program we met at the UNRWA education conference, which sparked a brainstorming session about how computer games could be incorporated into RTP programs.

So, start up your XOs!  Track stats of the World Cup games, Measure the amplitude of cheering when a goal is scored, or Record a set of videos of your friend’s elaborate soccer footwork!

We all have the right to learn & play…