“For many children traditional school is a very dangerous place because you can be humiliated, embarrassed – scared of being found out that you don’t know how to do something. Whereas with the Turtle, you can play with it by yourself. It’s okay that you don’t understand it because you found out that you didn’t understand it. You wanted the Turtle to do something, and it did something else, but understanding why it did its thing is the proper way to lead you into having it do your thing. You don’t have to think that you are stupid; you can think, this dumb Turtle, if you like. There is a kind of human quality about being able to interact with the Turtle when things go wrong. This is totally absent in school math for most kids. Children at computers very clearly demonstrate the contrast between the confrontational style of people who like to plan and decide exactly what should happen and make that happen versus other people who like a more negotiational, consensual, interactive way of thinking. School math, with its emphasis on detail, forces the confrontational, compulsive-obsessive style. There is no play. There is absolute right.”
Papert, S. (1985). Interview. Omni Magazine. October 1985. pp. 98-104, 160.
For years I had a terrible 53rd generation photocopy of this article. So, when I recently found a copy of the October 1985 issue of Omni Magazine for sale on eBay, I snapped it up and scanned it for academic purposes. That’s right, there was a major feature-length interview of Seymour Papert in a magazine owned by Bob Guccione!