I've posted before about logo and programming activities in our classes: Phun, Pawns and Scratch. We have begun exploring Terry 2, by Kudlian Software, a program in our iBooks.

We began by "playing" the "games" on backgrounds which come with the program - move your turtle through the mazes, around the race course, through the dangerous waters, etc. Then we began to program the turtle ourselves, first with simple forward, backward, and 90° turns L and R. As you move up through the levels of Terry 2, your options increase.

Today's challenge was to make a snow-flake-like design. Here is Nicola's result:

Here are two snowflakes from Year 3 students, Luca and Pierre:


Club Penguin and Webkinz

Wesley Fryer has written about his family's experiences with Club Penguin and Webkinz over this last school holiday in a post titled "A holiday lesson in ethics via Webkinz"

It's a long, thoughtful post, and I urge you - parents and students- to click through and read it.  He describes how his children enjoy the sites, what they're learning in their time online, and one particular incident and its follow-up.
"Things that happen in the virtual, online world DO matter just as things we do in the real, face-to-face world matter. Perceptions shape reality. I explained to my daughter that her act of going into her brother’s Webkinz account and sending herself that coupon without permission was just like him going into her room and eating a box of chocolates that she received for Christmas, without permission. It was stealing, taking something that did not belong to her without permission, and it was wrong."
I know that many of our students are members of these sites, too, and that the same sort of learning and sharing takes place among them - we've talked about it in ICT class. 

The post goes on: "While kids as well as adults can certainly waste a lot of time online playing games as well as consuming media in various forms, I think there is much more comparative value to my children participating in interactive, online environments like these rather than simply watching television passively. The advent of more streaming video shared on websites means passive TV watching CAN and does happen frequently when kids are online, but I’d say they spend at least 90% of their time online interactively DOING things rather than just “watching.”

We tend to overlook, or underestimate,  the power of this online time ("just playing games"). Wes Fryer writes about this invisible part of our students' lives, and how we adults can and should involve ourselves.