[Edu-sig] Edu-sig Digest, Vol 31, Issue 16

Toby Donaldson tjd at sfu.ca
Wed Mar 1 02:55:23 CET 2006

As I pointed out in my message, the reason we use turtle graphics is
to introduce the idea of functional decomposition and bottom-up
development. I have little interest in graphics, personally.

It worked very well for our students, and the fact that turtle
graphics is a toy is important: there's less anxiety playing with
toys. I see many, many students who have zero experience with
programming in high school, and exhibit more anxiety in the
first-programming course than in a math course (which at they least
have a decade of experience with, even if they dislike the topic).


On 2/28/06, kirby urner <kirby.urner at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 2/28/06, Toby Donaldson <tjd at sfu.ca> wrote:
> >
> >    1. The broken interaction between Idle and the turtle package.
> >
> >    2. Poor documentation. To actually understand certain function
> > calls, it was necessary to read the turtle.py source code.
> My tentative conclusion, reading the above, and from some personal
> experience, is the Tkinter turtle.py, while a fun demo, is mostly a toy and
> should not be used for serious teaching, at least on Windows.  Too much
> adverse experience.  Too much frustration.  In general, Tk on Windows has a
> lot of problems -- I generally forsake IDLE and go to a command window, for
> good reason.  IPython is an alternative (a good one -- once you get it
> working in Windows, which is very doable).
> I really don't think *any* kind of turtle graphics is essential to learning
> programming, although as I said, I think the approach is very viable and
> destined to last.  I'm not "anti turtle".
> My own special interest is in going back to the very early days of Logo,
> when a physical robot was used.  I'd rather have hardware robots than screen
> based ones, with Python bindings.  SONY should seed me a prototype :-D
> Kirby

Dr. Toby Donaldson
School of Computing Science
Simon Fraser University (Surrey)

More information about the Edu-sig mailing list