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The effect of logo programming language for creativity and problem solving

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The effect of Logo programming language for creativity and problem solving was investigated. Eighty-five fifth grade students were assigned to a Logo experiment and control group. They were pretested to assess receptive fluency, flexibility, originality, elaboration, logical word problem solving skill, and figural problem solving skill. After 8 weeks of learning, the Logo experimental group had significantly higher score than control group on the test of problem solving skill (logical word, figural problem solving) and figural creativity (fluency, flexibility, originality, elaboration). The result revealed significantly differences for creativity especially in flexibility and originality and figural problem solving skill between the Logo experimental group and the control group. An implication was Logo programming may provide opportunities for improvement of creativity and problem solving skill. Possible alternative explanation and suggestions for future research were provided.
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The Effect of Logo Programming Language for
Creativity and Problem Solving
BENS PARDAMEAN, EVELIN, HONNI
Graduate Program of Management System Information
Bina Nusantara University
Jl. Kebon Jeruk Raya No. 27, Kebon Jeruk, Jakarta Barat
INDONESIA
bpardamean@binus.edu, eveline_tey@yahoo.com, honni@binus.edu
Abstract: The effect of Logo programming language for creativity and problem solving was investigated.
Eighty-five fifth grade students were assigned to a Logo experiment and control group. They were pretested to
assess receptive fluency, flexibility, originality, elaboration, logical word problem solving skill, and figural
problem solving skill. After 8 weeks of learning, the Logo experimental group had significantly higher score
than control group on the test of problem solving skill (logical word, figural problem solving) and figural
creativity (fluency, flexibility, originality, elaboration). The result revealed significantly differences for
creativity especially in flexibility and originality and figural problem solving skill between the Logo
experimental group and the control group. An implication was Logo programming may provide opportunities
for improvement of creativity and problem solving skill. Possible alternative explanation and suggestions for
future research were provided.
Keywords: Logo programming language, creativity, problem solving skill, turtle geometry
1 Introduction
During the past several years, Indonesian public
have been concerned about problems within
education system in the country. Authorities agree
that education system needs reorganizing and
revitalizing. Many recommendations to remedy the
problems. They believe that one of solution is to
develop creative problem solving skill in regular
classroom. And the use of information and
computer technology (ICT) in learning and
teaching environment can provide support to this
solution. In the Curriculum 2004 was stated how
ICT should be used to create creativity and problem
solving based on learning model, especially in
supporting the understanding of other subjects [1].
One effort to develop creativity and problem-
solving skill is through learning by using the Logo
programming language.
Unlike Indonesia, other countries such as the
United States, England, Russia, Japan and Australia
have been using Logo in teaching for various
purposes. Logo has widely been used in the
classrooms and a mandated part of the national
curriculum. Research on Logo programming
conducted at overseas have already quite
established and therefore in a few years back not
much studies has been done.
1.1 Logo Programming
Logo has been around for a long time. It was
originally developed at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology in 1967 by Seymourt Papert and
others and was intended to allow people, even
small children, to use computers as a learning tool
[2]. Papert is a computer scientist who has studied
child development for many years. He combined
his scientific skills with Piaget’s theories on how
children think and learn to create a software
program that enables children to use programming
language [3].
Maddux [4] pointed out that Logo is different
than other programming language because it can be
used with very little knowledge of computer
language. The geometrical component of Logo is
known as turtle geometry. The turtle is the cursor
by which the user points and moves within Logo.
Only a five or ten-minute presentation is required
to introduced the four basic commands for turtle
movement. The commands are used to create and
manipulate graphics, geometrical shapes, and
designs, which are carried out by a triangular
shaped cursor called the turtle. The turtle’s distance
and angle are determined by the numerical inputs
placed after the directions commands. In the
immediate mode, children learn to create designs,
drawing, and geometrics figures instantly.
Children type the command and press the
ENTER key which moves the turtle. Once the
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students has mastered the immediate mode, the
student can advance to the next level, the program
mode. In the program mode, the commands are no
longer carried out individually. A series of
commands are written, then the ENTER key is
pressed and the command program is executed on
the monitor. So, Logo provides immediate
feedback, which allows students to correct and
learn from their errors, and to exercise their self-
correcting and problem solving skill.
Logo provides students with a variety of
learning strategies. Students with short attention
spans can benefit from Logo because they can work
at their own pace. According to research done by
Emihovich and Miller [5], Logo can also acquire
metacognitive skills which are rarely met in the
regular classroom. Planning the turtle’s movements
provides students with experience in how they
think and learn. This higher-level thought process
applied to a concrete object teaches them content,
thinking styles, and behaviors needed for academic
success.
1.2 Logo and Creativity
Silvern [6] points out that problem solving
strategies and play facilitate creative thinking.
Through play, children transform objects into real-
word ideas. Constuctive play is defined as using
ordinary objects and imagination to create a new
product. Painting, drawing, and building blocks are
all forms of constructive play, but a child does not
have to think about creating them. Using Logo, the
child must think creatively because a set of
instructions must be followed or created. Through
constucting and transforming original instruction
sets, children can developed and express creative
thinking.
Clements [7] corroborated these findings when
his Logo group significantly outperformed other
groups in creativity training studies. Third-grade
children were able to create complex projects by
combining an entire page of shapes into one
drawing. Their drawings were more complete,
more original, more sophisticated graphic
representations than the control groups. According
to his study, Clements determined that this was
probably because they learned procedural thinking
when using Logo.
Other studies showed an increase in figural
creativity on transfer tests, although gains in some
were moderate [8-13] and occasionally non-
significant [14,15]. Originality, in contrast to
fluency or flexibility, was most often enhanced.
1.3 Logo and Problem solving
Kull and Carter [16] found that Logo enhances
children’s problem solving skill on mathematical
understanding. Students can explore numbers and
number relationships by using the wrapping
component of Logo. Wrapping in Logo occurs
when a large number is entered into the computer,
moving the turtle off the screen and back again as
many times as commanded to produce a screen
wrap. Young students are unable to appropriately
associate numbers with their value. Students
discover number relations by finding that if a larger
number is entered into the computer, the turtle
wraps longer and fills up the screen more than if a
smaller number is entered. The children construct
these wraps and determine that numbers represent a
relational amount of something. After discovering
number relation, students began to predict what
will happen on the screen with numbers they
choose to input.
Battista and Clements [17] investigated the
changes in children’s mathematical problem
solving that result from learning Logo. They
concluded that understanding of geometric shapes
was enhanced. They also concluded that children’s
idea about mathematic problem solving became
more sophisticated.
Using Logo leads to geometry. Students practice
and simulate spatial relations, learning to repeat
and rotate geometric figures on the screen. Battista
and Clements suggested that illustrating spatial
imagery is important in geometric problem solving
because it involves thinking about properties of
figures. Determining how to recognize geometrical
figures in their tilted form develops students spatial
imagery and visual reasoning.
Torgerson [3] noted that Piaget’s research
stressed the necessity of student involvement in
physical manipulation of objects to build
intellectual structures. Children need to interact
with their environment to understand spatial
relations. The creating of geometrical shapes and
designs provides practice in left, right, forward, and
backward directions once they have developed the
concepts of spatial relations.
2 Problem Formulation
This study was conducted to know whether
Logo programming language improves students'
creativity and problem-solving skill amongst grade
5 students. This studies focused on Logo, because
as previously described, Logo has great potential
for introducing children to many of the central
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concepts involved in programming, problem
solving and creativity.
3 Methodology
This was a quantitative research for learning
computer programming in elementary school. This
study was focused on Logo programming class in
fifth grade. It was conducted to find out the effect
of Logo programming on students’ creativity and
their achievement in problem solving ability. The
degree of effect would be used to get information
about Logo programming in enhancing students’
creativity and problem solving ability. The results
of this research can be used as a guide to develop
creativity and problem solving skills in using ITC
for elementary schools.
3.1 Study Design
This study is a experimental quantitative
research. Pretest was given prior to the start of
Logo programming course and posttest was
conducted afterward. Thus, the main objective of
this study was to find out whether there were
differences in students’ creativity and problem
solving skill before and after learning Logo
programming. The conceptual framework for the
study is depicted in figure 1.
Figure 1. Conceptual framework for the study
The hypothesis of the study is “Logo
programming improves students’ creativity and
problem solving skill amongst grade 5 students.”
3.2 Data Collection Method
Creativity score was measured by Creative
Thinking Figural Test (CTFT). The test was
developed by University of Indonesia [18]. It was
used by all of psychologists in Indonesia for
research. This test is given to children from the age
of 5 years old. It measures different aspects of
ability such as fluency (FLU), flexibility (FLX),
originality (ORG), and elaboration (ELA).
Problem solving score was measured by Logical
Word Test (LWT) and Figural Problem Solving
Test (FPST).
Test of Logo programming was measured by
using the assessment of Logo programming for
Jordanian students. This test was developed by
Amal Khasawneh from the study on the assessment
of logo programming based on problem solving
skill [19].
3.3 Population
Subject population of this study is the fifth
grade students of a Catholic school near Jakarta,
Indonesia. The school is a co-education school
from kindegarden until grade 12.
There were 85 students in the fifth grade classes
divided into two groups. They were Logo
experimental group and the control group. The
Logo experimental group consisted of 43 students
and the control group consisted of 42 students. The
group was determined based on the intelligence,
gender, and religion.
The experimental group studied a module of
Logo programming in 16 sessions. One session of
40-minute course of ICT as part of their school
curriculum. This module ran for a month, and
produced an introduction of Logo programming
through turtle geometry. Students often worked in
peer in order to cover the turtle activities in the
computer. Meanwhile, they worked individually for
the purpose of assessment. Teacher’s role was to
guide and be a source of learning. A PC LOGO for
Windows version 6.5b 2002 was utilized in the
school. Students in the control group did not
receive any special microcomputer experience.
3.4 Sample and Sampling Technique
This study utilized a convenience sample. It was
non-probabilistic sampling technique. A
probability sample was not necesssary for this
research as all the students were contributed to the
study. Therefore, all students in grade 5 were
included in this study; thus, total sample size was
85 students.
3.5 Analysis Method
This study was conducted to determine whether
Logo programming could improve students’
creativity and problem-solving skills amongst grade
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5 students. This study compared the differences of
scores in students’ creativity and problem solving
skills before and after Logo programming course.
Scores of students’ creativity pretest were
compared with scores of students’ creativity
posttest. Similarly, scores of the students’ problem-
solving skill pretest were compared with scores of
students’ problem-solving skill posttest. T-test
analysis was used, taken on a matched pairs of
students’ creativity pretest and posttest score, and a
matched pairs of students’ problem-solving skills
pretest and posttest score.
4 Problem Solution
In this study, students’ creativity pretest and
posttest scores, and students’ problem-solving
pretest and posttest scores were collected. Students’
creativity and problem solving pretest scores, and
students’ creativity and problem-solving posttest
scores were classified into two groups: Logo
experimental group and control group.
Independent-samples T-test was performed to
test for differences among FLU, FLX, ORG, ELA,
LWT, PST with respect to participants’ Logo
experimental group and control group in pretest and
posttest scores.
Table 1 Descriptive Statistics of Creativity and
Problem Solving Pretest Scores
Measured
Area
Pretest
p-value
Logo
Experimental
Group (N=42)
Control Group
(N=42)
Mean SD Mean SD
FLU 8.74 2.94 8.59 2.73 .818
FLX 8.79 2.40 8.40 2.96 .520
ORG 6.31 2.59 8.45 2.72 .000*
ELA 8.93 3.01 9.05 3.06 .858
LWT 9.64 3.06 9.64 1.37 .680
FPST 10.33 3.09 9.05 2.67 .044*
* indicates p < 0.05 for difference between means
Table 1 shows the means and standard
deviations of creativity and problem solving pretest
scores for entire study participants. In pretest, the
mean score of FLU did not differ significantly
between Logo experimental group and control
group, F = .090, p = .818. The same result also
emerged for FLX (F = 2.994, p = .520), ELA (F =
.326, p = .585), LWT (F = 21.793, p = .680). On
the other hand, the mean score of ORG was
significantly difference (F= .114, p = .000) and
FPST (F = .182, p = .044).
Table 2. Descriptive Statistics of Creativity and
Problem Solving Posttest Score
Measured
Area
Posttest
p-value
Logo
Experimental
Group (N=43)
Control Group
(N=41)
Mean SD Mean SD
FLU 13.74 3.04 12.88 3.23 .209
FLX 12.39 3.37 10.93 3.24 .045*
ORG 13.07 3.48 11.46 3.23 .033*
ELA 13.12 3.05 12.15 2.89 .139
LWT 11.91 3.50 10.71 3.54 .122
FPST 12.19 2.30 10.80 2.92 .019*
* indicates p < 0.05 for difference between means
Table 2 presents the means and standard
deviations of creativity and problem solving
posttest score. In posttest, the mean score of FLU
did not differ significantly, F = .291, p = .209. The
same result also emerged for ELA (F = .089, p =
.139) and LWT (F = .017, p = .122). Meanwhile,
the mean score of FLX was significantly difference
(F = .387, p = .045). The same results also emerged
for ORG (F = .000, p = .033) and FPST (F = 7.044,
p = .019).
Figure 2 Creativity and Problem Solving Pretest-
Posttest Scores for Logo Experimental Group
Figure 2 displays the trends students’ creativity
and problem solving pretest-posttest scores for
Logo experimental group participants. Figure 3
displays the trends students’ creativity and problem
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solving pretest-posttest score for the control group
participants. The figure shows there is a increasing
in students’ creativity and problem solving score
from pretest to posttest. The increasing is most
clearly seen in students’ creativity and problem
solving score from the Logo experimental group
participants. It occured because of the treatment of
logo programming in the Logo experimental group.
Figure 3 The Creativity and Problem Solving
Pretest-Posttest Scores for The Control Group
5 Conclusion
The conclusion of this study was Logo
programming improves students’ creativity and
problem solving skill amongst grade 5 students.
The improvement could be seen on creativity and
problem solving skill’s posttest scores. It showed
there were statistically significant differences in
FLX (F = .387, p = .045), ORG (F = .000, p =
.033) and FPST (F = 7.044, p = .019) between the
two groups. This indicated that Logo programming
improved the level of students’ flexibility,
originality and figural problem solving.
It was suggested that Logo programming
language can be used to develop creativity and
problem solving skill through the use of ICT for
elementary schools. For further study, other
variables such as gender, socio-economic level,
parents’ education, the influences of teachers and
parents can be included in the analysis.
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