November 21, 2011

“Some of my colleagues are disappointed that School manages to so dilute the ideas or so circumscribe their impact that they can be “integrated” into an essentially unchanged system. I have learned to see things differently through my Piaget-trained eyes. At the core of Piaget’s theory of development is the process he calls assimilation: when new ideas are taken in by a child they are first reconstituted to fit the child’s mental structures. Only later, through the interaction of many such elements, do the structures themselves change in a phase he calls accommodation. I am quite amazed at how educators who try to follow Piaget’s ideas when thinking about children fail to understand that change in School, or any other complex system, must come about in the same way. School has to assimilate new ideas to its own structure before these structures can change. I see what is happening in educational technology today as a late stage of such an assimilation phase of the kinds of ideas prefigured in “Teaching Children Thinking.” The first signs of the accommodation phase are just beginning.”

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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