Turtle Academy Discovered

Click me for a video on: The Crazy Octagon Project

What I learned this week in Turtle Academy was a better understanding of angles and being able to change established codes to create something a bit different regarding color, size, and speed.  Really, the most important thing was the understanding about angles.   Seeing the angles drawn out after giving a command created a connection between formal knowledge and a personal activity.

However, at this point, I have Scratch, beginnings of HTML, some commands in Java for my Creating in Code for the Lily pad and Turtle Academy.   It’s too much at the same time. Every one of these tutorials uses a different format and doing three to four of these programming languages simultaneously creates terrible confusion.  While the concepts are the same, the commands seem very different.

So far, Turtle was the best fit for me so far and the most fun.  I can see what I am doing and love the Turtle.  Papert in his book Mindstorms (p.57)  speaks about identification with the Turtle.  I even made the same mistakes as the child (on p. 61) with drawing a house and the triangle was inside.  This syntonic learning resonates very powerfully because I can see what it is that I am doing.  For me, the most difficult part has always been a lack of spacial perception.  Once I grasped the principle of how to do a triangle creating the square became easier.  I then started looking in Turtle Academy for similar scripts to see if I could spot them. I could.  Then I moved on to look Octagon scripts again, it all started to make sense.  Manipulating the code showed me instantly what would happen.

The biggest Aha moment came when I read in Papert (p.67)  that Euclid defined the characteristic of a circle the constant distance between the point on the circle and a point, the center, that is not itself a part of the circle.  I got that immediately!

“The Phoenix Firestorm Project: Virtual Worlds, JokaydiaGrid and Second Life” Teaching ESL in OpenSym Grids

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An accepted paper by Jasmin B. Cowin, Ed.D. for the TESOL Conference, November 3rd and 4th, 2016 in Syracuse, New York.

I am embarking on a journey of discovery with critical questions in my mind:  How does an ESL facilitator put virtual environments to practical use?   The purpose of my paper and presentation encompasses several areas which I will explore in future blogs.  An essential element will be describing and analyzing my experience as the avatar ‘Muse Terpsichore’ in virtual worlds during my online summer “Games and Simulations” course at Marlboro College for Professional and Graduate Studies in Brattleboro, VT.  Another component will focus on describing and comparing the virtual worlds of Jokaydia Grid and Second Life. Immersed in these virtual environments I will investigate their suitability for ESL education with a closer look at areas such as experiential learning, fluency practice, virtual classroom meetings, grammar, and storytelling.  I look forward to an in-depth exploration into content availability and suitability for independent, guided, synchronous and asynchronous student-teacher interaction and collaboration. Finally, I want to examine the difference between the student and administrator view of virtual environments.  How does a virtual world look like to an administrator or student? What set-up work is necessary to stage for a successful learning experience?  What skills does an administrator or student need to successfully implement and engage in a virtual learning component?

I hope you will check in often to read about my ambitious journey into the alternate universes and creative teaching possibilities within virtual worlds.

 

“Blogging has changed the way we communicate.”

With the rise of interactive social media, especially blogging, our way of communication has changed to an interactive communication process.

Ten years ago there was no Facebook,WordPress, Twitter, Foursquare, Linkedin, Wikipedia, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social media platform. Initially, communication and interaction with websites were predominantly one-sided. Web sites would offer information but no interaction. Web surfers would skim across multiple websites without the ability to interact, comment or communicate in real-time. Information would be scanned often without focus or intellectual investment. Passive website viewing rarely allowed two-way interactions.
With the rise of interactive social media, especially blogging, our way of communication has changed to an interactive communication process. Blogging sites such as WordPress offer preset, easily adjustable, free templates for beginner bloggers who can communicate via text, images and video messages to an international audience. Collaboration on a global scale with robust feedback, comment features and instant translation services capture the rapidly evolving nature of online communication. Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister said: “Take, therefore, what modern technology is capable of: the power of our moral sense allied to the power of communications and our ability to organize internationally. That, in my view, gives us the first opportunity as a community to fundamentally change the world. “
However, blogging also poses challenges. Inadvertent self-disclosure in blogging is akin to “peeling back the layers of an onion. The outer layers of the onion represent superficial information about a person, such as physical appearance and speech. The deeper layers represent more intimate information, such as the person’s thoughts, feelings and relationships with others. “Social Penetration Theory
Entering the blogging and social media galaxy is a multi-dimensional journey which starts with listening and learning, self-disclosure, engaging across all channels, joining and creating communities, and connecting to collaborative partners across the globe. This networking and collaboration leads to collective intelligence, transparency and collaborative solutions.