March 15, 2011

“For the reformists, the computer will not abolish schools but will serve them. The computer is seen as an engine that can be harnessed to existing structures in order to solve, in local and incremental measures, the problems that face schools as they exist today. The reformist is no more inclined than the revolutionary to think in terms of reconceptualizing subject domains. Our philosophy, both implicit and explicit, tries to avoid the two common traps: commitment to technological inevitability and commitment to strategies of incremental change. The technology itself will not draw us forward in any direction I can believe in either educationally or socially. The price of the education community’s reactive posture will be educational mediocrity and social rigidity. And experimenting with incremental changes will not even put us in a position to understand where the technology is leading. My own philosophy is revolutionary rather than reformist in its concept of change. But the revolution I envision is of ideas, not of technology. It consists of new understandings of specific subject domains and in new understandings of the process of learning itself. It consists of a new and much more ambitious setting of the sights of educational aspiration.”

Papert, S. (1981) Mindstorms: Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas. NY: Basic Books. Chapter 8 – “Images of a Learning Society.”

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