November 28, 2011

“I end by mentioning two less specific “firsts” with which “Teaching Children Thinking” should be credited. At that time the concept of computers in education was synonymous with CAI (computer assisted instruction). I believe that “Teaching Children Thinking” was the first published paper to suggest that the child could be in charge of the machine not the machine in charge of the child by offering what was the a new image of children using computers as tools for creativity2. The idea that “teaching thinking” is appropriate in elementary school does have some antecedents but in 1970 it was certainly not current in the mainstream of American education circles. I see the movement that goes under names like “thinking skills” and “critical thinking” as something that came to prominence much later and was supported if not inspired by a wave of hype on the lines of “Logo teaches logical thinking.” Reading “Teaching Children Thinking” should show that my own views were much more complex: Programming can be used to support learning about thinking, which is a very different claim from saying that in itself it improves thinking skills.”

Papert, Seymour (2005). You can’t think about thinking without thinking about thinking about something. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 5(3/4), 366 -367 .

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