Stockham School, Wantage - Imagine Logo Case Study
Thanks to Stuart Taylor
A self-professed lover of logo, Stuart Taylor, head teacher at Stockham School in Wantage, has been bowled over by the sheer potential and usability of Imagine Logo.
Stuart has historically been a keen user of SuperLogo, across his year groups. With SuperLogo, Stuart ran a number of interesting projects to challenge and engage his pupils. Having always recognised the potential of logo in education (with its application in problem solving, maths and ICT), one of Stuart's most recent projects involved the creation of animations with SuperLogo, by exploiting the "loadscreen" facility and building up animation frames. Such a project was born of thinking "outside of the box" and combining problem solving with creativity. As such, Stuart was bound to love Imagine Logo from the start!
Imagine for Logo, Problem Solving, Control and Modelling
Stuart's investigations with Imagine Logo have been impressive. Working with pupils across the year groups - from Year 2 to Year 6 - he has shown that Imagine can be configured and used in different ways, to match the age and ability of the children using it. In Year 2, pupils at Stockham School have been using Imagine Logo to explore shapes. To make this workable in the classroom, Stuart set up a simple project within Imagine Logo using the buttons. The buttons were linked to the turtle with different commands (forwards, back, left, right) and children had to click on the buttons to move the turtle and draw different shapes. This was a simple and effective way to deliver modelling in Year 2 and in guiding the turtle to draw shapes, pupils were learning fundamental rules about turtle control in a logo environment.
In Year's 3 & 4, pupils began to learn procedures and how to create them. One particularly interesting activity involved children working together to explore permutations in turtle-drawn shapes. Each child was asked to create a procedure, so that the turtle would draw a shape. Working in pairs and small groups, the pupils then explored what would happen when they put their procedures together, and they explored the different shapes that were achieved by putting their procedures together in different orders. Thus, in a group of three, there would be three defined procedures: (eg.) Square, Circle, Squiggly Line. The pupils would program the procedures and then put them together in different ways:
- Squiggly Line - Circle;
- Square - Square - Circle - Squiggly Line - Squiggly Line - Circle
...and so on.
Pupils also introduced the REPEAT command to their patterns and were intrigued by the different shapes that could be achieved. As Stuart put it, "they love exploring" and this was a comprehensive and engaging maths investigation for Year 4 pupils. Pupils furthered the numeracy application of Imagine Logo in Year 5, with a maths investigation into angles and creating spirals.
Particularly impressive has been Stuart's use of Imagine Logo in a wider context. In fact, as well as using Imagine Logo in ICT, children at Stockham School have used Imagine in a variety of other subject areas, including Art, Maths and Literacy. In harnessing the multi-media capability of Imagine Logo, Stuart has managed to embed its use in various areas of the curriculum.
Year 4 pupils at Stockham have made interesting use of Imagine Logo in Literacy lessons. Working in pairs, pupils have been exploring the nature of plays; each pair finished their investigation by writing their own script.
The completed scripts were used to create a play in Imagine Logo. Pupils constructed a scenario in which two people were talking (for example, a policeman and a vet). By changing the shapes of their on-screen turtles, to look like the characters in question, pupils were able to create a variation of a puppet show! Imagine Logo has a speech synthesiser built-in (something which children enjoy using a great deal) and the pupils used this to make their characters talk to each other on screen.
This particular literacy activity was showcased in class, with each pair showing their play on a whiteboard, with the use of a projector and loud speakers. They found this to be great fun, and the showcase session was highly rewarding.
The animation facility in Imagine Logo was used to create some interesting art projects. These art projects utilised ICT efficiently and with interesting effect.
The projects involved children manipulating digital images with software. By and large, the images were photographs of the child's face. Each pupil took this image and used a variety of effects (such as blending, blurring, pixelating, sharpening, etc.) to alter the appearance of the image. The variety of different effects were then imported into Logotomotion (Logomotion is the animation package affiliated to Imagine Logo) to create an animation.
The effect was impressive. At the click of a button the child's face could be seen going through a live metamorphosis, as one effect followed another. This was a wonderful and novel way to explore the impact digital effects can have on an image.
Video Animation in Maths - Investigating Variables
A similar technique was used in maths lessons, to examine the effect of variables on the size and shape of a logo spiral.
To achieve this, pupils first created a procedure for a spiral, which had a variable element (in terms of size and increment). The pupils were asked to play with the variables, increasing the value of each variable in steps. Pupils decided how big or small these steps would be. For each spiral that was created, the pupils saved the image in .bmp format.
After each pupil had created 20 spirals, of growing size and increment, they then imported these into Logomotion and created an animation from them. Each picture comprised one frame in the animation. At the end of this exercise, pupils could clearly see their spiral growing on screen. Once again, this was an interesting and novel way to use animation as a way to demonstrate the principles of an investigation.
The pupils found this to be a fascinating project. They "loved the idea of an investigation.of seeing what their change did to the spiral, how their decisions directly affected the pattern."
A Question of Audience - Branching Stories and Multi-Choice Games
The facility within Imagine Logo, to have multiple screens and to link these screens in any way the user chooses has been exploited at Stockham School to create branching stories and interactive games, in which choices can be made.
Such stories and games can be easily achieved in the Imagine Logo environment. Children enjoyed thinking in a non-linear way when constructing their projects. The choice of the reader would dictate the direction in which the story would run. Thus, in one Christmas story, the reader had decided at each point where Father Christmas was going on his rounds, by clicking on the appropriate links. Once Santa was in the house, the reader would decide whether Santa would go to the bedroom, the front room, the kitchen, etc. Thus, the reader actually had an impact on how the story unfolded and what happened.
In Stockham School, Stuart Taylor has taken Imagine Logo and has run with it! The results have been amazing and the pupils' use of ICT has been challenging and rewarding.
Stuart has employed a wide variety of techniques to introduce Imagine Logo into different lessons and an equally wide number of techniques to introduce the software to his pupils, as a tool to be used in many contexts.
The interactive whiteboard has been used to teach both pupils the principles of using the software (this can be taught in a whole class context and then children go to individual workstations to consolidate what they have learned); and to display and show pupils' work, once it is finished. Imagine Logo can be used successfully in a whole class context and as a tool for individual pupils. It ties in well with such events as the literacy hour, being used for whole class introductions, individual work and plenaries.
Another method used to introduce Imagine Logo to pupils, to facilitate its use in class, has been Stuart's use of pre-prepared templates. For such things as talking books, interactive games and branching databases, Stuart has prepared a template environment for pupils to work with. Such a technique helps with differentiation, to level the playing field within a class, but also helps to take the focus off learning the software and on to using the software as a tool within the given curriculum context.
Stockham School's use of Imagine Logo has been impressive and inspirational. Logotron will be looking forward to sharing in future projects undertaken by the school, with Imagine Logo.