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Programming Objects To Think With: Logo and the Teaching and Learning of Problem Solving


Unfortunately, much of the research devoted to Logo and problem solving has not supported the claim that Logo provides an environment in which children will develop problem solving skills, but the literature suggests that direct instruction and mediated Logo programming practice can result in the acquisition and transfer of certain problem solving abilities. The research reported in this paper was designed to test such an hypothesis by differentiating between interventions combining direct instruction and mediated practice and discovery learning approaches, and with assessing the importance of programming within that model. Subjects were 100 students in the fourth through the sixth grades who had all had at least one year (30 hours) of prior experience programming in Logo. All subjects were pretested on their ability to solve problems requiring the use of each of the five problem solving strategies under investigation, and randomly assigned by grade to one of three treatment conditions--a Logo graphics condition, a cut-paper manipulative condition, or a discovery learning, Logo projects condition. Results reveal that the model can indeed support the acquisition and transfer of four problem solving strategies--subgoals formation, forward chaining, systematic trial and error, and analogy--whereas neither discovery learning in a Logo environment nor direct instruction with concrete manipulatives practice can accomplish that. Indications are that the model can support the teaching and learning of alternative representation strategies as well. The findings support claims for the efficacy of Logo as a medium conducive to the teaching and learning of problem solving, and argue for the use of knowledge-based instructional design and computing environments in the creation of problem solving interventions. (33 references) (Author/BBM)


Swan, K. Programming Objects To Think With: Logo and the Teaching and Learning of Problem Solving. Retrieved October 17, 2019 from .

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