May 8, 2012 (Rare Discoveries Week)

“So there are other ways, through this computer system that have opened up, that enable somebody to get knowledge when you need it. Now this leads to, not only to a radically different idea of what kind of knowledge it is, because there’s nothing numerical and nothing about fractions in the description of the parabola that we give them.

But it is also radically opposite to the idea of the curriculum where you learn a piece of mathematics because it’s the 17th of May in your third grade year and so it’s inscribed somewhere that on this day you going to learn this. That’s no way to learn.

Not if there’s an alternative. And the alternative is, you get into situations where you need it. The problem of the educational innovator is to create those situations where you need it. And then to create the means so that you can find the knowledge when you need it for your purpose.”

Papert, S. (1996) American Prospect Speech. Cambridge, MA. June 4, 1996.

Many thanks to Brian C. Smith for his excellent transcription of this speech.

Listen to the speech here.

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