Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Logo is Lisp (sort of)

I've had an interest in Logo for the past 20+ years. Or, more specifically, I've known about Turtle graphics for over 20 years. I never really immersed myself in the Logo language though. I've always end up implementing Turtle graphics in my favorite language du jour.

Now that I have kids, I have to ask myself: When it is time for them to learn how to deeply interact with the computer (beyond browsing, games and paint programs), is Logo still the language I want to introduce to them?

Scratch is amazing, but something is missing when you don't "talk" to the computer in a written language (Scratch is a visual programming environment). Most of what you need is there, but there is no poetry.

I am very fond of Logo (and not just from a teaching kids perspective). I like its simplicity. I like the way it has a low entry level but no apparent "top" that would cause you to defect to another language. Logo is a dialect of Lisp. It's a simple Lisp with syntax added and parens removed.

I still think it is relevant. Do you?

My 8 year old son plays with Scratch from time to time. We haven't tried any "educational" stuff with it yet. Still, my son has an aptitude for math. Does he need it hidden by the layered GUI facade of Scratch?

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