November 16, 2011

“With the wisdom of hindsight, it seems clear now that the difficulties encountered by such curriculum reform as the New Math were aggravated by the reactions of parents and teachers to the new things the children were learning. The parents often perceived the new math as strange, as alien to them; they often responded to it defensively. Children learning the New Math at school were thus given conflicting signals about it at home, messages that tended to reduce it in value and seriousness. It also now seems clear that children were given equally conflicting messages at school. The planners of the new curriculum did not have the necessary deep understanding of what the new concepts meant to its teachers, teachers who were often quickly indoctrinated and thus could hardly convey the spirit as well as the formalism of the new curriculum.”

Papert, Seymour. (1976) An Evaluative Study of Modern Technology in Education. MIT Artificial Intelligence Memo #371.

Versions of this piece were published as “MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Memo No. 371,” (June, 1976), and as “LOGO Memo No. 26.” This piece was based on a proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF) submitted in 1975.

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