[IAEP] Terminology (was Re: Into the classroom.)
echerlin at gmail.com
Sat Aug 9 12:40:09 EDT 2008
On Fri, Aug 8, 2008 at 5:39 PM, Bill Kerr <billkerr at gmail.com> wrote:
> Personally I see the need for some more theory-practice work around the
> theme of constructionism, the need to clarify what it means exactly and its
> relationship to other learning theories and practices - we have some notable
> educational and mind theorists such as alan kay and marvin minsky who don't
> use the C___ word in part because it has become so diffuse, fuzzy and
Good idea. Most of the people we are trying to communicate with won't
know that we mean to make a distinction between Constructivism
(Piaget) and Constructionism (Papert). Nor will they know that the
multitude of Constructivist this and thats have nothing to do with
What we need is to do for teachers what we aim to do for students:
Provide a way to get the experiences they need as a basis for
discussion and for understanding. Just talk, especially using
undefined terms, is not helpful. Reports from the field such as the
anecdotal Astounded in Arahuay
(http://radian.org/notebook/astounded-in-arahuay) and the formal
report on OLPC in Ethiopia (linked at
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Academic_Papers) indicate that the XO
creates surprising improvements in the classroom and in the community
even before we get to the potential of rewriting curricula and
textbooks to make use of powerful software tools. Children, teachers,
and parents are getting the idea from seeing all of this in action.
How do we make those experiences widely available? Trials help.
GiveOneGetOne helps. I would like to see a program for getting rooms
full of XOs into children's museums and libraries, where entire school
classes can visit. We know that quite impressive activity can occur in
only one or two sessions. We know that children get the idea
immediately, and that teachers in target countries get some of the
basic ideas within a day or two. For parents whose children were not
getting an effective education, it becomes obvious within a week or
two that this is the real deal.
Of course, this also requires us to package plans for exploring
powerful ideas for different age groups, such as Alan Kay's demo of
how to teach third-graders to discover Galilean gravity. Preschoolers
can make effective use of Record, Paint, and TamTamJam. Adults need to
see children sharing Write, Paint, and TamTam sessions and games in
collaboration. Much more can be done.
> There is a new group of educational practitioners (some of them also
> theorists) who have grown up around the web2.0 (aka as school2.0) practices
> but in some respects this has the appearance of a ground zero movement that
> is either not aware or does not mention the earlier ideas of the use of
> computers in education eg. the use of logo in schools. This focuses on the
> use of web2.0 apps such as blogs, wikis for enhancing learning. This latter
> group often does not consider the use of programming languages which
> separates them from the Papert approach.
My take on this: Lack of experience with what works, too much
experience with what doesn't work (such as Computer Literacy), and
lack of imagination.
> also the Siemens - Downes group has put forward a new educational theory of
> networked learning
Can you supply links?
> under the banner of connectivism (sic, not connectionism)
We really have to create a curriculum on how people adopt or reject
new ideas. Meaningless terminology and slogans don't help.
> One possibility or line of approach for sugar would be to integrate these
> two approaches - could be crudely described as computer mediated
> constructionism + collaboration (using slogans here while advocating caution
> in their use)
Way more than two, in fact. I would say that we need to organize an
evidence-based education research and deployment program.
> Some online educational communities do not focus on on line lesson plans and
> books but more take the approach that immersion in media, eg. mediated
> writing through shared blogs (and use of other web apps) will liberate
> humanity from Schools and Teachers, which are sometimes seen as the problem
Left front foot of the elephant.
> School are also having to face the issue of what to do about the cheaper
> more ubiquitous presence of computers - and they really don't know what to
> do because in general the uptake from teachers has been slow
I would say that teachers are not the main problem, although there are
exceptions. I see problems with education bureaucracies and with a
number of anti-intellectual social movements as some of the larger
issues. The unholy anti-tax alliance between the apostles of greed and
intolerance is an example, where they demand that we not teach genuine
economics or science, including effective health measures.
Also, teachers cannot "take up" computers without training and
support. We cannot simply demand that teachers trained in the factory
automation schools of education go get real degrees in their subjects
and immediately start teaching deep ideas that they never encountered
themselves. They cannot teach if they are given computers without
software, and the children can't get time on the computers that are
provided. They cannot use computers in teaching if nobody does
anything about revising the curriculum and rewriting the textbooks to
include computer capabilities.
> I'm probably oversimplifying a lot but in general I think it's fair to say
> that the use of computers in education is very much problematic and in a
> state of flux -
putting it mildly.
> so new ideas built around the affordances of Sugar software
> could achieve some traction fairly quickly, possibly :-)
> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
Silent Thunder [默雷/शब्दगर्ज] is my name,
And Children are my nation.
The whole world is my dwelling place,
And Truth my destination.
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