Mindstorms: Computers and Children

This essay was sort of an expansion on Kay and Goldberg’s “Personal Dynamic Media” and how children are able to learn so much by given free rein with computer programs. I thought this piece took it to a new level by adding in supervision and curriculum aspects. However, there is a difference between supervision and curricula, because supervision is giving advice and aid along the way while curricula is in a way a standard that the child will have to meet with the computer programming. The different types of thinking and learning were really interesting because the brain works in certain ways while the mind works in completely different ways. The mind is allowed to roam more than the brain is because of the different things they process. In a way, I thought it was creepy how, in the picture sequence in the back of the essay, it was as if a therapist was telling the “viewer” what to do, with all of the turns and angles and how to create the picture.

The discussion on the different types of languages in which programming can be learned intrigued me because it showed how things can be interpreted differently by different people. I thought the piece on teaching children/babies a vocabulary of 50 words would be easy for them to learn, but it would create so many problems when it came time for them to have more complex thoughts that they could not express with only 50 words. Sure, everyone has their own ideas on how to learn or teach something, but it’s important to remember that everyone is different and has different learning styles, so the same thing won’t work for everyone.

Overall, this essay was interesting, but I didn’t like it as much as some of the others we’ve read. I found it sort of repetitive and very similar to the piece by Kay and Goldberg. However, I do feel it’s possible to take things from this essay.

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