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July 12, 2021

2 Responses

  1. Some of the tools and programming systems being developed then were, in my humble opinion, better than some of the stuff available today. Some might have made Seymour cringe. For example, the ability to “break a problem into sub-problems” (so important in teaching children to think, in the work of Papert and his colleagues and students) is very badly supported in NXT-G, the “programming environment” that now ships with Mindstorms, the product named after Seymour’s famous book. In NXT-G, the data wires are truly painful to use; all variables are global; and recursion is not allowed. Yes, there are other choices that will work with the NXT bricks; but I am sure that the overwhelming majority of educators currently excited about STEM and using these products have given very little thought to the limitations of NXT-G in supporting the problem solving heuristics Seymour was trying to promulgate. Yes, we now have many more computers and they are much more powerful and much less expensive. That is great. However, how we use them seems to have left much of this early wisdom behind. It’s sad. Thank you, Gary, for reminding us.