Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Children's Machine

"Imagine a party of time travelers from an earlier century, among them one group of surgeons and another of school-teachers, each group eager to see how much things have changed in their profession a hundred or more years into the future. Imagine the bewilderment of the surgeons finding themselves in the operating room of a modern hospital. Although they would know that an operation of some sort was being performed, and might even be able to guess at the target organ, they would in almost all cases be unable to figure out what the surgeon was trying to accomplish or what was the purpose of the many strange devices he and the surgical staff were employing. The rituals of antisepsis and anesthesia, the beeping electronics, and even the bright lights, all so familiar to television audiences, would be utterly unfamiliar to them.
"The time-traveling teachers would respond very differently to a modern elementary classroom. They might be puzzled by a few strange objects. They might notice that some standard techniques had changed -- and would likely disagree among themselves about whether the changes they saw were for the better or the worse -- but they would fully see the point of most of what was being attempted and could quite easily take over the class."
- Samuel Papert, The Children's Machine

Avoid the trap of using modern technologies for learning in the same old way.  We have tools which can reinvent learning.