Logo Foundation Services

Workshop and Course Descriptions

We offer workshops, generally from a half day to three days in duration, on a wide range of topics. Courses cover the same subject matter with shorter sessions spread out over a period of weeks. In addition to the topics listed below we can design a custom workshop to more specifically meet your needs. Below are brief summaries of what we currently offer.

Look at Making Arrangements to find out how to bring these workshops to your school, district, or organization.

Robo Expo Ramp Up

Robo Expo is a robotics exposition that has been held annually in New York City since 2005. It was established with the goal of creating an event for students that emphasized exhibition, meeting challenges, and collaboration, and was more relaxed than competitive robotics contests. Robo Expo offers an avenue for students to share their physical computing creations in a friendly and supportive environment.

This workshop will help you prepare your students to participate in the upcoming Robo Expo on April 8, 2017 at the Marymount School in New York City. You will have an opportunity to design and program robots to meet the Challenges that students will be presented with: following a line, getting out of a box, and more. You will also get an overview of the kinds of projects that students have presented over the years in the Exhibition portion of Robo-Expo — an open ended space for students to express their creative design imaginations in cybernetic projects of all sorts.

Preparation for Robo Expo can serve as a framework for a robotics course or afterschool program with the April 8 event as the culminating activity.

Audience: Elementary and Middle School teachers working with robotics, or intending to, in schools, camps, and afterschool programs; technology coordinators and integrators who support teachers.
Prerequisites: none

Making the Most of Hour of Code and Beyond

During Computer Science Education Week each December millions of students and their teachers spend an hour participating in a variety of coding activities. The Hour of Code website offers numerous activities for students to engage in for that hour and beyond.

These activities represent widely different approaches to computer science education. Some are games or puzzles. Some are tutorials. In this workshop we will offer guidance on how to assess the various options based on your needs and those of your students.

We will then focus on the few options that approach coding through creative computing - using computer programming as a tool to design and build a project, which may be an animated story, video game, or multimedia presentation.

You will have an opportunity to work with activity cards, tutorials, and facilitator guides that have been developed by the Scratch Team at MIT. You will be prepared to conduct an Hour of Code workshop as well as to follow up with an extended course in creative computing for your students.

Audience: Teachers and technology integrators.
Prerequisite: none

Getting Started with Scratch

Scratch is a hugely popular programming environment developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. Following a brief introduction, develop one or more projects of your own, such as a video game, a multimedia presentation, or an animated story. Explore the Scratch Web site with extensive resources and an online community of  millions of people worldwide.

Generative Art

Generative art refers to art that is created by a system that operates autonomously. The artist may create the system, and/or set some parameters that affect the outcome, but the result is created, at least in part, by the system rather than directly by the artist. Generative art systems are frequently computer programs, although biological, social, or other systems may also be used to generate art.

In this workshop, you will use Scratch and TurtleArt to explore generative art with activities at the intersection of art, mathematics, and programming.

Audience: Teachers and anyone else interested in this topic. The material is suitable for students ages eight and older.
Prerequisite: Some familiarity with Scratch and/or TurtleArt

For more details and references see www.logofoundation.org/genart

Coding for Everyone

This workshop is for school and department heads, teachers, and technology coordinators, grades K-8, who want to bring computer programming (coding) into their schools.

Why teach coding? We hear much about a booming job market for people who know how to program, and the shortage of suitable candidates. But there are more immediate reasons for K-8 students to learn to code. Programming is a vehicle for learning in many subject areas including math, language, science, music and visual arts. The thinking skills and problem solving strategies that are acquired while learning to program apply generally to all areas of life. As Steve Jobs said:

“Everyone in this country should learn how to program a computer… because it teaches you how to think.”

You will gain hands-on experience with Scratch and other  creative computing environments that are suitable for young children. You will develop a framework and specific plans for initiating a coding curriculum in your school.

Audience: Teachers, technology integrators, and anyone else interested in this topic.

Learning and Creating with TurtleArt

TurtleArt is a microworld for exploring art through turtle geometry. It is a visual programming environment in which programs are created by snapping together blocks on the screen. The vocabulary of TurtleArt is small so fluency can be reached quickly. Turtle Art is a constrained programming environment. Its simplicity enhances its learnability. At the same time, it provides scaffolding for entry into computer programming more generally by giving users experience with features found in mainstream programming languages, e.g. iteration, recursion, variables, and procedures.

From Blocks to Text

Millions of young people are programming in Scratch and other blocks-based, visual programming environments. But mainstream programming languages are text based. When, if ever, should students make a transition from blocks to text? We'll look at reasons to do so, and explore several pathways that build on the programming knowledge learned in a blocks environment to comfortably move into text programming.

Audience: Teachers and anyone else interested in this topic. The material is suitable for students ages eight and older.
Prerequisite: Some familiarity with Scratch or another blocks programming environment.

Physical Computing and Robotics

Computer programming involves more than what happens on the screen. Programs can gather information from sensors that respond to environmental conditions inducing heat, light, and touch. That input can be used to control what happens on the screen. With some systems motors and light may be activated so you can create active art installations or robots.

Sensor boards include MaKey MaKey and the PICO Board. Devices which control motors, lights, and other output devices include Arduino, Hummingbird, and various LEGO kits. The choice of which of these we focus on in a given workshop depends upon the interests of the participants, the duration of the workshop; and the grade-level and subject responsibilities of the participants.

Audience: Teachers and anyone else interested in this topic. The material is suitable for students ages eight and older.
Prerequisite: Some familiarity with Scratch.

Arduino for Scratchers

Arduino is a popular and widely used microcontroller for physical computing and robotics projects. But getting started with it can be challenging.

In this workshop we use a modified version of Scratch for a gentle introduction to Arduino programming. We also look at pathways from Scratch for Arduino into the standard Arduino language.

Audience: Teachers and anyone else interested in working with Arduino in physical computing and robotics. The material is suitable for students ages eight and older.
Prerequisite: Some knowledge of Scratch

Long Live the Turtle

Turtle Geometry was first developed half a century ago and became widely known in the 1980s with the widespread use of Logo. Now it is commonly found in many coding tutorials. But much of what we see today is disconnected from the pedagogical roots and rich mathematical substance of Turtle Geometry, and so misses an opportunity to enrich mathematical learning for students.

In this workshop we will review the basics of Turtle Geometry using TurtleArt, Scratch, and several robots including BeeBot, Finch, and a DIY Logo Turtle. Topics include:

  • The educational rationale for Turtle Geometry
  • The Total Turtle Trip Theorem
  • Using Turtle and Coordinate Geometry together in animation, game, and drawing projects

We'll also explore a 3D extension of Turtle Geometry that can be used to create solid images on a 3D printer.

Audience: Teachers and anyone else interested in this topic. The material is suitable for students ages eight and older.
Prerequisite: none