May 1, 2014

“Everyone works with procedures in everyday life. Playing a game or giving directions to a lost motorist are exercises in procedural thinking. But in everyday life procedures are lived and used, they are not necessarily reflected on. In the LOGO environment, a procedure becomes a thing that is named, manipulated, and recognized as the children come to acquire the idea of procedure. The effect of this for someone like Ken is that everyday-life experience of procedures and programming now becomes a resource for doing formal arithmetic in school. Newton’s laws of motion came alive when we used computational metaphor to tie them to more personal and conceptually powerful things. Geometry came alive when we connected it to its precursors in the most fundamental human experience : the experience of one’s body in space. Similarly, formal arithmetic will come alive when we can develop links for the individual learner with its procedural precursors. And these precursors do exist. The child does have procedural knowledge and he does use it in many aspects of his life, whether in planning strategies for a game of tic-tac-toe or in giving directions to a motorist who has lost his way. But all too often the same child does not use it in school arithmetic.”

Papert, Seymour. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas NY: Basic Books.


The Daily Papert is a service of Constructing Modern Knowledge, the world’s premiere educational event for educators to learn-by-doing. Learn more about this year’s institute – July 8-11, 2014 in Manchester, NH – atconstructingmodernknowledge.com.

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