Last night I started reading and Tweeting Seymour Papert's, "The Children's Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer." This book has been on my short list for quite some time but I finally decided to read it. I have read a lot of Papert's research but little of his writing of this kind. Boy have I been missing out! What follows is a record of my live Tweeting and reflections on the first chapter of this book:
"Why, through a period when so much human activity has been revolutionized, have we not seen comparable (cont) http://tl.gd/2kf53v
"Many individual Yearners--from parents to teachers to administrators--simply find ways to get around (cont) http://tl.gd/2kf76o
I guess I have to consider myself a Yearner. My whole career I have spent working in alternative programs, swimming upstream, and I fear for my very inquisitive daughter who is starting kindergarten in a little over a month that schooling will extinguish her natural inquisitiveness.
"Any adult who thinks these (video) games are easy need only sit down and try to master one." -Papert
"there can be little doubt that a child treated with respect & encouragement rather than threatened (cont) http://tl.gd/2kfc41
"In trying 2 teach children what adults want them 2 know, does School utilize [how ppl] most naturally learn in nonschool settings?" Papert
@anderscj Almost never.
@anderscj At least after kindergarten.
"In the past, children may not have liked School, but they were persuaded to believe that it was the passport to success in life." Papert
This statement perfectly answers a question I was asked yesterday about why there seems to be such a difference between how kids respond to teachers presenting information 30+ years ago and today.
"2 the extent that children reject School as out of touch with contemporary life, they become agents in creating pressure 4 change." Papert
"Will the change 1st enhance the lives of the children of the wealthy & powerful & only slowly (cont) http://tl.gd/2kfhio
"Will School continue 2 impose a single way of knowing on every1, or will it adapt 2 an epistemological pluralism?" Papert
This, for me, is the primary question and one that is most threatening to the current education system.
"No technological obstacle stands in the way of making a machine that puts the power 2 know what others know in [a 4yr old's] hands." Papert
I read this just after spending an hour with my daughter and her over-sized kid's atlas. We have a ritual lately of looking at the maps in the atlas, her asking questions, and us using the iPod Touch to look up more information about places. That night she asked why she couldn't see our house on the map of North America so I took out Google Earth to show her why. No amount of explaining could possibly have made the concept of scale so immediately understood by a 5 year old than zooming in on our house and looking at satellite pictures of houses, cars, swing sets, and fences on this device, this Knowledge Machine.
Papert, in 1993, imagined a Knowledge Machine that would extend immediacy of information needed 4 exploratory learning. (the Internet?)
"The prospect of the Knowledge Machine suggests that this basic assumption (that knowing how to read and (cont) http://tl.gd/2kfqfa
I think this is definitely going on my Digital Fluency reading list.
"Becoming literate means thinking differently than one did previously, seeing the world differently, and (cont) http://tl.gd/2kfsnb
"movement from letteracy 2 media-based knowledge acquisition may b more important than the movement from prelettetate 2 letterate culture."
"I have always yearned for ways of learning in which children act as creators rather than consumers of knowledge." Papert
"My driving ? was whether 'exceptional children' learned differently b/c they were exceptional or whether (cont) http://tl.gd/2kg3i7
"It is simply double-talk to ask children to take charge of their own learning and at the same time order (cont) http://tl.gd/2kg75d
"The central problem for math educ is 2 find ways 2 draw on the child's vast experience of oral mathematics. Computers can do this." Papert
"Giving children the opportunity 2 lrn & use math in nonformalized way of knowing encourages..eventual adoption of formalized way as well."
"The entire point of the Knowledge Machine would be lost if it were conceived solely as a device for teaching children to read." Papert
YES YES YES! This is exactly what we are seeing with our continued drive to focus primarily on reading, writing, and arithmetic in this standards movement we are currently in the throws of. My prediction is this current focus on the 3Rs is the death throw of what Papert calls the letterate society (letterate being the literacy of reading & writing printed text).
"Geometry is not there for being learned. It is there for being used." Papert
@anderscj what are you reading? Sounds good!
@DKMead Seymour Papert's "The Childern's Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer" (1993)
Wow! I have read a lot of Papert's published research and many articles but nothing as powerful as the 1st chapter of this book.
This book reads like prophesy. Almost religious. I almost expect him to predict some sort of edtech messiah.
Enough Book Club for tonight. Tomorrow's bedtime story: ch 2 "Personal Thinking" & ch 3 "School: Change & Resistance to Change"
We r 2 years away from Papert's predicted date of a move 2 media rich literacy being dominant form of knowledge acquisition. R we there yet?
Gotta love a bk that School Library Journal describes as, "Educ w/a vested intrst in status quo will hate this book.Its bout their demise."
@anderscj I've got that book on my desk. Keep going back to it.
@budtheteacher I have been meaning to read it for years. I've read a lot of other work by Papert but this one is different. It's prophetic.
@tomfullerton I don't think it will ever be fully realized. I do think it has been realized in isolated cases but that was true then too.