Evgeny D. Patarakin & Larisa L. Travina.
Program Systems Institute
Two different approaches - cognitive psychology and psychoanalysis are used to create new educational microworlds. One approach results in the process of exploration of the current state of students' understanding. The second one results in the process of exploration of the current state of students' emotional problems. The paper presents some examples of model educational projects in Logo media. The fruitfulness of this domain of psychological education is stressed.
Our research group "Computer and strategy of education" of Program Systems Institute looks for a new strategy of cultural education on the basis of computer technologies since 1986. Within the framework of our International Children Computer Camp (ICCC) we have implemented a lot of educational projects. These projects were connected with history, literature, graphics, and language arts. Implementing their projects our students actively created texts, drawings and animated cartoons. Every finished project reveals an imprint of children personality. This imprint is a projection of student's inner world on the project surface. We believe that project-oriented activities in enriched Logo media can be successfully used for psychological education. This paper presents a new educational microworld that is based on Logo media.
Psychological methods in the field of education produce two different pictures. The first one is cognitive (in the spirit of Piaget and Kelly) and it gives us the current state of student's understanding. The second one (in the spirit of Freud) gives us the current state of his/her inner problems. Avoiding the discussion about the value of different pictures for teachers or researchers, we would like to emphasize the idea that the procedure of creating these two pictures has high learning potential by itself. This potential can be greatly increased in enriched Logo media. The present generation of students has vast possibilities in it. Programming tools help students to express themselves in a new way. Within the framework of free project-oriented activities students can make texts, pictures, animated cartoons, etc. Programming tools make it possible for students to show what they know and feel, therefore giving them new ways of looking into their own minds. Putting it bluntly, when a student has made a map of his/her cognitive structure, he/she can make a step to a better self-image and self-understanding; when the student has presented his/her problems in a free, non-structured flow of images, he/she can make a step to resolving the problems. Therefore, these procedures can be used to create a new educational microworld. We believe that Logo media is a very fruitful environment for these creative activities.
The educational strategy of Logo is based on the discovery metaphor. Students explore new fields of knowledge, build their own computer models and at the same time build their own intellectual structures. The educational media stimulate students to present any idea in a very clear way, to divide any problem into more understandable subprograms, etc. Constructionism of Logo is closely linked with Kelly's Theory of Personal Constructs. From Kelly's point of view, the person explores his/her environment during all periods of his/her life (1). All the time he/she builds hypotheses about the environment and lives on the basis of these hypotheses. The basic element of Kelly' theory is a polar notion - "construct". We believe that intervention of Kelly's ideas in the Logo media is very promising. Therefore, we have made a LogoWriter Version of Repertoire Greed Test (RGT). The finished product is a specific computer constructor. With the help of this constructor students can create a computer map of their inner worlds (Appendix 1). While using RGT you can choose the personality of a student as a subject for the study. The system of constructs, received through RGT, reveals the system of notions used by the person in everyday life without explicit representation. Our experience shows that teaching the basics of psychology to teenagers is more effective if it is based on the personal experience of students. RGT can be used not only to check the changes in the knowledge system of a student, but also as a tool to develop creativity in children. We have successfully used LogoWriter Version of RGT in various educational projects:
During the projects "Fantastic World" and "Mysterious Book" students 9-12 years old have created pictures, texts, shapes and animated cartoons about some monsters or nonexisting animals. At the second stage there was created a general map. At the next stage local communities of characters started to communicate by e-mail. The children communicated not only with the help of texts, but with the help of pictures as well. During the project named "Computer Theater" students 7 to 15 years old made a computer play. Sixteen characters of this play lived in two different computer kingdoms and actively communicated with one another in the form of a dialogue. Very interesting results can be achieved by integration of cognitive and psychoanalytical approaches. At the first (symbolic-emotional) stage the students have created their own characters, drew their images, wrote texts about them and dialogues (Picture 3). At the second (cognitive) stage of the project every participant with the help of RGT LogoWriter Version has made a map of his/her own character inner world (Picture 4). The students have made this work looking from the point of view of their characters. This shift has greatly increased cognitive distance between the student and his/her knowledge. It has helped them to create a better self-image and self-understanding.
These projects resulted in LogoWriter hypertext systems. We began to study the possibilities of the hypertext technology in 1990. The possibilities of making a nonlinear text, using simultaneously text, graphics and animation, are very attractive. At the first glance it even seems that we are in a new information era. Hypertext systems help the user to present materials in text, graphic and animated cartoons in a suitable manner. They have stimulated students to make their own systems of constructs. We have made a special tool page "HPTOOLS that gives students the possibilities to load texts and picture into the working page automatically. The objects on the screen and their shapes in motion were controlled from the keyboard. The working page that is used in the finished products has only few simple procedures that output some names or numbers:
The hypertext reader can read the hypertext in two ways using keyboard control:
If the reader moves the cursor too much to the left, right, top or down, he automatically goes to the adjacent page (Picture 6).
We have not discussed or explored the personal problems of the students within the framework of the project. The group has spent all the time and put all the efforts to reach the general goal - to make a common microworld. However, in the process of joint work everybody was enforced to correct features of his/her own character. Computer media give us a possibility to see an evolution of every character and its creator. For some characters and students this evolution can be explicitly presented. For the others it can be only postulated. Conclusion.
Creative activities are projective ones by their nature. They can be used to create a new Logo educational environment. We believe that however undeveloped it is, this environment has sufficient justification for its existence. Two dimensions or two trends of this environment - cognitive and emotional - are very important. The confrontation between these trends is the main source of evolution of this environment. The choice of educational strategy is left to the teacher. We just want to stress the importance of studies in this area.
Final procedures of RGT have worked with a complex list. It usually
looks like this:
[5 [[12 [[1 [2 [13 3 10 8 7 [6 11] 4 9]]]]]]]
The task of the procedures is to present data in text or graphics form.
To graph_model :list ht pu setpos [0 -85] pd setc 3 label first :list m_graf last :list 1 15 end to m_graf :text :level :length if word? :text [label :text stop] if :level > count :text [ stop] seth m_angle fd m_step m_graf item :level :text 1 :length seth m_angle bk m_step m_graf :text :level + 1 :length end to m_step op :length / cos m_angle end to m_angle ifelse equal? 90 (:level * 180 / ( 1 + count :text)) [ op 0 ] [op (:level * 180 / (( 1 + (count :text) )] end to text_prez :list field 14 text_pr last :list 1 cd cd end to text_pr :text :level if word? :text [ insert :text repeat (count :text) [cb] stop] if :level > count :text [stop] cd insert "I fprint text_pr item :level :text 1 bprint text_pr :text :level + 1 end to fprint repeat 1 [insert "_] end to bprint repeat 2 [cb] end to field :num repeat (:num * 2) [repeat 20 [insert char 32] pr ] repeat (:num * 2) [cu] end
It is a LogoWriter notation.