GlobalSummit06 – Seymour Papert

Back to another day, and I am feeling inspired again, because the day started with a few key reflections of the events of yesterday. I felt the strong energy of the group, and the wonderful sense that attendees were genuinely reflecting, cutting and dicing – not just accepting words as received, but using them to further discussion and move in new directions.

Our online link to Dr Seymour Papert was also inspirational for the focus points that he provided us. [Dr. Papert is the inventor of the Logo computer language]

What a great thing to see this leading thinker up on the big screen, and to hear his thoughts flowing in response to questions being presented.

Seymour urged us to move our thinking from HOW to WHAT. Not how students learn and how to teach, but what children learn and what to teach. How can kids learn things in better ways?

As to our how our technology future is looking? Seymour offered four key points:

  1. Every kid must have a computer! It is ridiculous to waste further time to debating this. Every knowledge worker (with the exception of our students) finds that technology is the proper medium for thinking work. If knowledge workers have computers, then why don’t kids!
  2. Shift from HOW to WHAT to learn.
  3. Recognise that it is global forces that drive change in education. Look to the forces in the global scene, rather than relentless educational debate to find the focus for future learning initiatives.
  4. Stop talking to the computer industry, and do not accept their economic agenda to spend more in order to buy bigger and better. We should be setting the pace and saying what we need. The $100 laptop project shows the clout that we can have if we wish to really make a difference.

Through all this Seymour urges us to focus on the fundamentals (not ‘back to basics’) . Now more than ever we need to return to the fundamentals of HARD THINKING – the real issues that are below the surface.

It was great to hear these important concepts articulated by a global leader. Literacy, mathematical thinking, digital thinking ……….. or we could say that literacy remains an enabling mechanism for effective Cognitive and Metacognitive engagement …… hard thinking…… real learning.

People laughed at Seymour Papert in the sixties when he talked about students using computers as intruments for learning and for enhancing creativity. Not any longer!

3 thoughts on “GlobalSummit06 – Seymour Papert

  1. How can kids learn things in better ways”?
    AArgh! Isn’t the question, WHAT do they want to learn?
    Yes the question is what do they what to learn, but once youve worked that out then what or how to build on that
    “Build, amplify and extend on what student’s bring into school”
    I didn’t write this. Garry did http://blogs.educationau.edu.au/gputland/2006/10/19/fireside-chat-with-seymour-papert-keynote-address/
    Just thought I’d have a go at extending the question . Seymour would have told me off, cause you should have been allowed to research it your self. Which you already did I’m sure. Just putting it in because, its just one of many possibilies after all.

  2. I couldn’t let this go.

    “Seymour urged us to move our thinking from HOW to WHAT. Not how students learn and how to teach, but what children learn and what to teach”. Which is terrific. Very European (objective), not like an Australian teaching approach (subjective) at all.

    And then you asked ” How can kids learn things in better ways”?
    AArgh! Isn’t the question, WHAT do they want to learn?
    (What gets their imagination going?)

    I don’t know if this is too old for K to 12’s, but you might check out the ‘burning questions’. http://science.howstuffworks.com/
    This also might be of some interest. It puts the ‘global’ summit into perspective. http://www.megaconferencejr.org/?id=index

  3. Pingback: Hard Thinking, Real Learning « Dorai’s LearnLog

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