Sunday, 7 April 2013

Learning Creative Learning: Reading List for Week 3

Seymour Papert (1994): The Children’s Machine (Chapter 7: Instructionism versus Constructionism)
    "If a man is hungry you can give him a fish, but it is better to give him a line and teach him to catch fish himself." Traditional education codifies what it thinks citizens need to know and sets out to feed children this "fish". Constructionism is built on the assumption that children will do best by finding ("fishing") for themselves the specific knowledge they need.
    "The kind of knowledge children most need is the knowledge that will help them get more knowledge."

    (on learning 'kitchen maths') "The natural context for learning would be through participation in other activities than the math is precisely this continuation of the familiar into the new that brings her breakthrough to connecting fractions with "everything"."

    "[There is] a need to offer children a more modern image of the nature of science...[partially] for the mundane reason that the image traditionally presented repels students who would be attracted to the life of science if they only knew what it was really like."

    The constructionist point of view says that nonabstract (or concrete) reasoning is equally valid and prevalent in society (including scientific reasoning). "While formal thinking may be able to do much that is beyond the scope of concrete methods, the concrete processes have their own power."

    "Rather that pushing children to think like adults, we might do better to remember that they are great learners and to try harder to be more like them."

Dale Dougherty: The Maker Mindset
    The JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) managers went back to look at their own retiring engineers and . . . found that in their youth, their older, problem-solving employees had taken apart clocks to see how they worked, or made soapbox derby racers, or built hi-fi stereos, or fixed appliances. The young engineering school graduates who had also done these things, who had played with their hands, were adept at the kinds of problem solving that management sought. Those who hadn’t, generally were not.

Dale Dougherty: Learning by Making
     “Making creates evidence of learning.” The thing you make — whether it be a robot, rocket, or blinking LED — is evidence that you did something, and there is also an entire process behind making that can be talked about and shared with others
This statement reminds me very much of Shawn Cornally, his inspiring foray in to Inquiry/interest/project based learning and Blue Harvest competencies.

Mitchel Resnick et al. (2009): Scratch: Programming for All.
    We know that people learn best, and enjoy most, when working on personally meaningful projects. So in developing Scratch, we put a high priority on two design criteria: Diversity (creating as many entry points as possible)...[and] Personalisation.

    (on Scratch having a 'low-floor' and encouraging 'tinkering') we have always been intrigued and inspired by the way children play and build with Lego bricks. Given a box full of them, they immediately start tinkering, snapping together a few bricks, and the emerging structure then gives them new ideas. As they play and build, plans and goals evolve organically, along with the structures and stories.
We wanted the process of programming in Scratch to have a similar feel. 

Seymour Papert (1980). Mindstorms - Chapter 2: Mathophobia: The Fear of Learning
    (On mathophobia) Imagine that children were forced to spend an hour a day drawing dance steps on squared paper and had to pass tests in these "dance facts" before they were allowed to dance physically. Would we not expect the world to be full of "dancophobes"?