What is TurtleArt?

TurtleArt is an app that lets you make images with your iPad. The Turtle follows a sequence of commands that you specify by snapping together puzzle like blocks. The blocks can tell the turtle to draw lines and arcs, draw in different colors, go to a specific place on the screen, etc. There are also blocks that let you repeat or name sequences. Other blocks perform arithmetic operations.

The sequence of blocks is a program that describes an image. This kind of programming is inspired by the LOGO programming language. It was designed to be easy enough for children and yet powerful enough for people of all ages. TurtleArt focuses on making images while allowing you to explore geometry and programming.

A brief history

In the late 1960s Seymour Papert and his colleagues started developing the Logo programming language. Their idea was that children learn best by making things that are personally meaningful. The early versions of Logo introduced the Turtle, a cybernetic creature that responded to commands and established an environment rich in mathematical thinking. It's 50 years later and those ideas are still powerful and relevant.

We created TurtleArt for making artistic images. Images made with a combination of math and code. TurtleArt has a small vocabulary. The Turtle only knows about image making. This makes it a microworld, not a general coding environment like many other block based systems.

Who we are

Paula Bontá

Paula is Co-Founder of the Playful Invention Company. She holds a degree in computer science from her native Argentina and a graduate degree from the Education and Technology program at Harvard. She contributed to the design of several coding environments for children such as MicroWorlds, PicoCricket, Scratch, ScratchJr, and LEGO WeDo. She is a consultant for the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, and for the LEGO company.

Brian Silverman

Since the late 1970s, Brian Silverman has been involved in the invention of learning environments for children. His work includes dozens of Logo versions (including LogoWriter & MicroWorlds), Scratch, LEGO robotics, TurtleArt and the PicoCricket. Brian has been a Consulting Scientist to the MIT Media Lab, enjoys recreational math, and is a computer scientist and master tinkerer. He once even built a tic-tac-toe playing computer out of TinkerToys.
Check out www.playfulinvention.com to see our other projects and passions.

We'd like to thank

Mitchel Resnick, Natalie Rusk, and Robbie Berg who had a huge influence on the design of the PicoBlocks programming language, which we used in TurtleArt.

Artemis Papert, our TurtleArtist in residence and creator of turtleart.org and tortugarte.org.

Julien Gelifier and Adrian Valesa from Hvingtquatre for the beautiful turtle and the other great graphics.

Danny Lutz for the sounds and music.

Sara Vitale for their help on the help and for her work on TurtleArt's online presence.

Sophie Manfredi for her help on many random corners of TurtleArt, including the help and Website.

Adrian Gabriel for his initial help on the help.

Stanley Gee-Silverman for testing.

Lisa Jacobsen & The Study School for their openness as a test site.

Erik Mockus for his commitment to capturing TurtleArt in the classroom on video.

Samantha Sullivan for the cookies.

Privacy Policy: TurtleArt does not collect any information about you or your use of the app