July 12, 2021

“The next issue, which was the one I really wanted to touch on, was what … Was about how those computers would be used, and how they could be used, centered around whether you would look for the use of the computer that automated teaching, in the spirit that people often still associate with the natural use of computers in schools. You would load a disk into the computer and some program would run that would lead the child by the nose through a curriculum.

Or, what we were proposing, was an intellectually strenuous plan of having these teachers, whose previous education was hardly at the level of our high schools, and many of whom had had no contact with technologies, had grown up in distant villages, we thought, give them access to computers. Let them learn to program them, let them feel master of the computers.

A debate waged in the country quite fiercely in its education circles. Is this feasible? Can it be done? Surely we in Costa Rica have to adopt a plan that will make it easy for the teachers, because our teachers have not had the advantage of teachers in the United States, or Europe, or Japan in having advanced access to technological knowledge.

Well, the debate waged for a while, and then an experiment was tried. The amazing result of the experiment was that those teachers in the first group of … that we had, I think learned faster and better than any comparable set of teachers we have ever seen in the United States, and I think they did this despite their lack of this very technical kind of school knowledge, because for them, they were affirming something deep.

They were affirming something about their country, they were affirming something about themselves. There was a challenge. It wasn’t just a challenge of what they could do with their children, they as people, as Costa Ricans, as teachers, and, I would mention, as women, in many of the cases, were energized by the need to, and the possibility of affirming themselves in all these ways, to do a miracle of learning.”

Papert, S. (1989) Seymour Papert’s Valedictory Speech Upon Being Named LEGO Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab. Accessed from https://dailypapert.com/legochair/. July 11, 2021.

Full transcript at https://dailypapert.com/legochair/

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