[IAEP] inquiry on constructionism advantages

Edward Cherlin echerlin at gmail.com
Tue Sep 29 05:52:58 EDT 2009

As long as governments ask the wrong questions, they cannot get useful
answers. This is just like Egypt asking whether XOs can run Windows.
Nicholas panicked, and got MS to put Windows on the XO. Walter Bender
pointed out that you can convince any official of the merits of Free
Software within ten minutes. The theory of Constructionism is not the
issue. It is only a small part of the program. Talk about what Sugar
actually does.

Please talk to the high official about preparing students for jobs in
the information age, where the jobs that exist today will disappear or
radically change by the time today's students graduate. Sugar will
transform teaching in every subject. How will the government test

Ask about teaching children to work together, as with collaboration in
Sugar, rather than individual achievement alone. How will the
government test that?

Ask about solving problems that may have no single right answer, and
certainly don't have a known right answer. How will the government
test that?

Ask about what citizens need to understand to participate in
politics--Finance, statistics, history, geography, civics... How will
the government test that?

In order to employ all of the qualified graduates from these schools,
the economy must be prepared to support a massive expansion of
entrepreneurship. How will the government pass that test?

Don't ask officials, but ask yourself: Who made these tests the
standard for judging schools? I guarantee that it wasn't students.
It's like the old joke about the man who lost his wallet in an alley
but was looking for it under a lamppost on the next street. After all,
he said, he couldn't see anything in the alley.

On Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 9:51 AM, Yamandu Ploskonka <yamaplos at gmail.com> wrote:
> I have received an inquiry on implementing constructionism from a high
> official in the Bolivian government.
> Since my opinion may be biased :-), I request you help us with clear,
> simple and please objective answers (no vapor-stuff), if at all possible
> 1) How do constructionist pupils do on standardized tests, such as
> University entrance exams.  (please inform about other demographic
> situations besides children of highly trained scholars - most Bolivian
> kids do not fit THAT bracket, alas)
> 2) How do they do with usual classroom tests, especially in the
> University.
> Core question is, are alumni of constructionism better, or at least
> competitive there?  What evidence do we have to prove this?
> 3) Is there any evidence (objective, unbiased) as to the impact of
> constructionism in education?  The big maybe here is further impact on
> development, yes ? (I may be mistaken here, please correct)
> 4) any other solid, statistically valid data supporting constructionism
> Please avoid treatises - I will be presenting this this week, and if
> anyone would volunteer, it may be possible to put you directly in touch
> with this official and/or his staff.  It is, or should be widely known
> that I see the current conctructionist stance within OLPC and Sugar as a
> misguided, feel-good attempt that is bound to do more harm to most kids
> than good compared to what could be achieved with a solid
> curricular-content approach, but I honestly would be happier I were
> mistaken, if determined by solid evidence.
> I looooove constructionism, it just doesn't seem to me to be what kids
> need, and all in all, I wish it worked, but I cannot prove it does for
> most kids. I am certain, but cannot prove either, that it does work
> within classrooms with highly trained teachers, or for gifted kids, or
> when there is a lot of educated support from home, in any case not a
> basis to adopt it for a country like Bolivia.
> Yama
> _______________________________________________
> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/iaep

Edward Mokurai (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) Cherlin
Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.

More information about the IAEP mailing list