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  • Got it?

    Posted on April 6th, 2012 lisskane No comments

    I really enjoyed our discussion today. I thought it was really cool looking at the differences in generations just between the grad students and undergrad student. I feel that being able to hear both perspectives in our discussion was super helpful. Now all we need is a few kids born in the 2000’s! Anyways what I really wanted to talk about was what we were discussing at the end of class. The topic came about by bringing up the “got it right” or “got it wrong idea” that seems to be so present in our lives, especially when dealing with education. As I said, in Papert’s The Children’s Machine, he says that he believes that learning is a natural act, but schooling however is not. The institution of school with its fixed curriculum has made the act of learning more goal orientated and by that I mean specific goal oriented with a specific way of getting there. This strict code of what is to be taught has made learning a technical act and the teachers the technicians of the “learning”.  Papert claims that telling children to take charge of their learning, but then ordering them to discover a specific conclusion from a certain path. is contradictory. What I think is important to realize is that there may a specific answer for some things and there are certain things we should be taught. But the problem comes in when we are told that we must find that answer in a specific way. Everyone learns differentially and has different answers, and when we constrict the act of learning, we constrict what is being learned. And that is where Papert believes computers can come in and restore “childlike wonder to learning”. Papert realizes we need a way to make learning a more diverse art. We need a way to get children to derive at answers in a way the makes sense for THEM and not in a black and white fashion laid out by teachers. Papert admits computers are not the only way to do it, but he believes that computers and LOGO could be a concrete  and powerful way of going about it. BUT only if it is done right. In class we were skeptical of LOGO and if it can really teach us anything. What is the purpose of drawing a star on the computer when you can draw it on paper? I think in a lot of cases LOGO may not have been useful, but I think it is the way that it was implicated in schools. LOGO is supposed to be a creative process that helps you to think about thinking. But when it is used in a specified manner, it thwarts the child’s creativity and drive to learn. When the teachers make LOGO a separate subject, unrelated to anything else, it seems silly and unimportant. It must be used as a tool for furthering other skills and for allowing the minds of children to run wild until they come to the answer themselves. Thus really learning and absorbing the information. So back to the star, the point of LOGO is not so that a child can draw a start, but so that the child can figure out his or her own path to making a star. This way the child can use the amazing and complicated brain of theirs to work through their thoughts to a conclusion. It comes back to this. I think the problem of school is not that there are right and wrong answers, but that there could be a wrong way of getting to the right answers. We don’t need to change the whole idea of school so that children can learn absolutely whatever they want, but so that they feel comfortable and able to figure out their own ways to organize information and come to conclusions. Sorry for rambling again.. hopefully that made sense!