[IAEP] Into the classroom.
echerlin at gmail.com
Sun Aug 10 19:49:15 EDT 2008
On Sun, Aug 10, 2008 at 4:18 AM, Walter Bender <walter.bender at gmail.com> wrote:
> Yes, Marvin has invented new words, but he hasn't invented many, and
> he invents them only for the sake of clarity. Over time, even his new
> words will become distorted, the meaning muddied, etc.; alas, that is
> the way of language. But we can still communicate clearly and with
> impact by avoiding "suitcase" words and by being concrete in our
> examples. Much of the power of expression employed by both Piaget and
> Papert was through the use of simple, powerful stories to exemplify
> their neologisms.
Mathematicians, some scientists, a few philosophers, and lawyers (not
in court, but in reading the laws) are used to the idea of defining
your terms at the beginning of a discourse, and sticking with those
definitions in that context. We have failed to do this with
constructivism and constructionism, allowing our friends to
misunderstand us, and our opponents to create their own strawman
definitions to argue against or even to ridicule.
Almost everybody else believes that words "have" meanings. Politicians
are the worst abusers, consciously using words and phrases to convey a
particular idea (usually an Us vs. Them idea), but then denying that
the words mean that or that they intended them to be understood in
that way. Phrases such as "law and order" and "quotas" (both code for
race), Death Tax, Right to Life, enemy combatant, or enhanced
interrogation techniques, and words such as Liberal, celebrity,
security, terrorist, patriot, and so on, with examples going back at
least to Classical Greece.
Understanding of these issues needs to be part of any Constructionist
curriculum. For students, teachers, and the bureaucracy, and for the
> We need more stories from the field about great learning moments!!
> On Sat, Aug 9, 2008 at 7:30 PM, Bill Kerr <billkerr at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Sat, Aug 9, 2008 at 9:51 PM, Walter Bender <walter.bender at gmail.com>
>>> > marvin minsky who don't use the C___ word
>>> Marvin used to use spell-check not as a way to find misspellings, but
>>> as a way to find to words not in the dictionary so that he could avoid
>>> them: those words tend to lead to confusion. This would apply to
>>> connectivism, connectionism, constructivism, etc.
>>> I think we need to come up with a clear, purposeful story, not because
>>> teachers are simple, but because the complexity of getting any change
>>> into any bureaucracy is difficult.
>> hi walter,
>> actually marvin invented has new words to describe aspects of how we might
>> think that are not explained clearly with existing words, eg.
>> imprimer -
>> "An imprimer is one of those persons to whom a child has become attached"
>> "Caregiver" is not sufficient since attachments can form without physical
>> The idea of learning by being "reinforced" by success or by "trial and
>> error" does not explain how we develop completely new goals or "values" or
>> "ideals". It would be potentially dangerous if strangers could easily alter
>> our higher level goals
>> panalogy -(parallel analogy)
>> "Charles gave Joan the book"
>> Physical Realm - book moves from Charles to Joan
>> Social Realm - is Charles generous or hoping to ingratiate himself?
>> Dominion Realm - Joan now controls the book
>> 3 meanings of give which may be reflected in how things are connected in our
>> one problem with the constructivism word (I think invented by Piaget) is
>> that along the way (or has it always been like that?) it has lost a clear
>> meaning - this might have happened when it was co-opted by some academics
>> and education departments to reframe curriculum guidelines under the banner
>> of social constructivism, which sometimes means throw away science, maths
>> content and replace it with fuzzy socially "meaningful" process skills (eg.
>> debate about the pros and cons of nuclear reactors but don't bother about
>> how they work)
>> Is papert's new word constructionism (n not v) still meaningful and useful?
>> If the meaning has been lost or diluted then is it a useful exercise to try
>> to recover it? I think it is - the new minsky words show that we do need new
>> words to describe things that are not clearly described by our existing
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