March 13, 2012

“I guess this week the question to ask in Maine is, “Why should every 7th and 8th grader have a laptop computer?” Well, the short answer is, “Every 7th grader should have a laptop computer because everybody should have a laptop computer.” And why? Again the short answer is, “Well, I have one. I could begin to do a quarter of the things I do without it. Everybody I know, with very very very few exceptions – engaged in serious creative intellectual work – writers, artists, historians, mathematicians… They have and use these things. So, it seems obvious that it’s today’s prime instrument for intellectual work.

Now, you might not think that the work of kids is intellectual. If you don’t think that, that’s why we are in such trouble. It is. It ought to be. So they ought to have this instrument.

Having said that, we turn to the longer answer. Including, “Why is it that anyone would resist this? Why would it occur to anyone to deprive them of this intellectual tool since many of the people who want to deprive them of this intellectual tool themselves would protest vehemently if we tried to deprive THEM of their computers?”

Well, my long answer starts with, “Why there is such conservatism about school?” And I am going to say that I diagnose the situation about schools and all of the trouble that schools are in, in a very simple way. Society has moved very fast. School has moved very sluggishly, if at all. The gap between school and society increases and increases and increases. Kids are highly aware of this gap. School is out of synch with the world they’re in. They don’t buy into the idea that school is what prepares them for the real world, because it just doesn’t match the real world that they see.”

Papert, S. (2000) “Technology and Education in the New Millennium” a lecture delivered at Bates College on March 16, 2000.

Comments are closed.