When I was in first grade, my parents signed me up for a bunch of summer park district programs: drawing classes, T-ball, and one strange one featuring computers.
I remember thinking that this was another art class, because I was spending so much time figuring how to draw spirals and staircases, like I was operating a super complicated Etch-a-Sketch. Only my pointer was, for some reason, a little turtle instead of an arrow or a blinking cursor. I was super excited because this class coincided with my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle phase. In fact, I’m pretty sure I thought the software was yet another TMNT toy.
I was actually learning LOGO, an early programming language designed to teach children how to operate a command line.
I remember being so proud of the robot I drew, not because it was particularly beautiful but because it was something that was recognizable if it was drawn in all rectangles.
As I dabble in programming now, I realize that LOGO also taught me how computers think. I had to plan ahead to manipulate my little turtle in the spot he needed to be in to perform the next maneuver. And I had to think sequentially. I couldn’t skip around the screen, adding a line over here and another other there.
Do any of you remember playing with LOGO? What did you make? Share your story in the comments!