Beyond Bits and Atoms – Week 2 – Reading Notes

Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, computers, and powerful ideas. Basic Books, Inc..

Introduction, Chapter 1 & 2

  • Instrumental use of the computer
    • As a tool, but does not inherently change our way of thinking and our daily lives
  • “Every normal child learns to talk. Why then should a child not learn to “talk” to a computer?” (Papert, 1980, p.6)
  • “The idea of “talking mathematics” to a computer can be generalized to a view of learning mathematics in ‘Mathland’; that is to say, in a context which is to learning mathematics what living in France is to learning French.” (Papert, 1980, p.6)
  • “Although technology will play an essential role in the realization of my vision of the future of education, my central focus is not on the machine but on the mind, and particularly on the way in which intellectual movements and cultures define themselves and grow.” (Papert, 1980, p.9)
  • “… this book is an argument that in many important cases this developmental difference can be attributed to our culture’s relative poverty in materials from which the apparently ‘more advanced’ intellectual structures can be built” (Papert, 1980, p.21)
  • “… two kinds of thinking Piaget associates with the formal stage of intellectual development: combinatorial thinking, where one has to reason in terms of the set of all possible states of system, and self-referential thinking about thinking itself.” (Papert, 1980, p.21)
  • “… educational intervention means changing the culture, planting new constructive elements init and eliminating noxious ones.” (Papert, 1980, p.32)
  • “I see ‘school math’ as a social construct, a kind of QWERTY.”

Papert, S. (2000). What’s the big idea: Towards a pedagogy of idea power.

  • Public access to empowered forms of ideas and the ways in which technology can support them fertil- izes the process of new growth.” (Papert, 2000, p.728)