On many occasions over several years, Dr. Papert and I would discuss the need to build bridges to the wider (non-computer-using) community of progressive educators. We discussed the idea of hosting a grand summit at which the educators we admire outside of the “edtech” world could spend sufficient time experiencing how the computer could enhance, amplify and enable modern knowledge construction. The result would be a unified front of thoughtful educators who could offer an alternative to the top-down standards-based misery that has only gotten worse in the intervening years. Papert had the wherewithal to summon all of the players to one big event at MIT, but for a variety of reasons the summit never occurred.
Five years ago, I accepted the challenge of creating a summer institute at which the most creative computer-using educators, progressive education advocates and creative thinkers could come together for four days of learning-by-doing. Participants would put away their teacher hat, put on their learner hat and embrace powerful ideas through tinkering, collaboration and hard-fun. This would be no ordinary “sit ‘n git” event! Participants would spend each day engaged in personally meaningful project-based learning and conversations with big thinkers.
Over the past four years, our guest speakers have included: noted science educator, Bob Tinker; Alfie Kohn; Deborah Meier; Peter Reynolds; historian, James Loewen; astronomer, Derrick Pitts and Papert protegé, Mitchel Resnick. CMK also brought the powerful ideas of Reggio Emilia to the edtech community. Seymour Papert’s friend and colleague of the past fifty years, Dr. Marvin Minsky, leads a free-wheeling “fireside chat” each year and our faculty includes Cynthia Solomon, who created Logo with Papert, and longtime collaborator, Brian Silverman, who created much of the software Papert’s work has relied on over the past thirty years. His daughter, Artemis Papert is also on the faculty. Dr. Papert’s fingerprints are all over our constructionist event.
The institute is called Constructing Modern Knowledge and it celebrates its 5th anniversary this July 9-12 in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA. If you are a reader of The Daily Papert, then this is the perfect professional learning opportunity for you!
- The extraordinary “Do-it-Yourself” filmmaker, Casey Neistat
- Editor-in-Chief of Make Magazine and a leader of the tinkering movement Papert dreamed of, Mark Frauenfelder
- The “godmother” of the project-approach to learning, Dr. Lilian Katz
- The personification of what Papert called Kid-Power, Super-Awesome Sylvia
- and Dr. Leah Buechley will host a reception for us at the world famous MIT Meda Lab (co-founded by Seymour Papert)
Our classroom is what Loris Malaguzzi of Reggio Emilia might describe as “1,000 laboratories.” There are computers, books, art supplies, toys, robotics materials, cameras, creativity software, electronic components, wearable computer, MIDI keyboards, marshmallows, drawing tablets and much more available as objects to think with. Sample the learning stories, participant recommendations and lessons from prior Constructing Modern Knowledge institutes here.
Don’t miss out on this intimiate and one-of-a-kind learning adventure! Register today!
Team discounts are available.