“The majority of the students were in special education classes both inside the facility and in regular school. Typically, in special education the process stays within the standard school epistemological framework, often presenting much the same material just slower and with more personal attention. We were trying to make a more fundamental change by focusing […]
“This procedure gave a way to introduce powerful ideas such as mechanical advantage and torque not in an abstract way but in a concrete, connected way. The students found the ideas powerful because they enabled them to achieve what they wanted. A procedure that directs attention to the limiting factors not only models a productive
“The eighth big idea is we are entering a digital world where knowing about digital technology is as important as reading and writing. So learning about computers is essential for our students’ futures BUT the most important purpose is using them NOW to learn about everything else.” Papert, S. (1999) “The Eight Big Ideas Behind
“The seventh big idea is do unto ourselves what we do unto our students. We are learning all the time. We have a lot of experience of other similar projects but each one is different. We do not have a pre-conceived idea of exactly how this will work out. We enjoy what we are doing
“The sixth big idea is the biggest of all: you can’t get it right without getting it wrong. Nothing important works the first time. The only way to get it right is to look carefully at what happened when it went wrong. To succeed you need the freedom to goof on the way.” Papert, S.
“The fifth big idea is taking time – the proper time for the job. Many students at school get used to being told every five minutes or every hour: do this, then do that, now do the next thing. If someone isn’t telling them what to do they get bored. Life is not like that.
“The fourth big idea is learning to learn. Many students get the idea that “the only way to learn is by being taught.” This is what makes them fail in school and in life. Nobody can teach you everything you need to know. You have to take charge of your own learning.” Papert, S. (1999)
“The third big idea is hard fun. We learn best and we work best if we enjoy what we are doing. But fun and enjoying doesn’t mean “easy.” The best fun is hard fun. Our sports heroes work very hard at getting better at their sports. The most successful carpenter enjoys doing carpentry. The successful
“The second big idea is technology as building material. If you can use technology to make things you can make a lot more interesting things. And you can learn a lot more by making them. This is especially true of digital technology: computers of all sorts including the computer-controlled Lego in our Lab.” Papert, S.
In 1999, Seymour Papert embarked on his last ambitious institutional research project when he created the constructionist, technology-rich, project-based, multi-aged Constructionist Learning Laboratory inside of Maine’s troubled prison for teens, The Maine Youth Center. Shortly after the start of the three year project, Papert outlined the Eight Big Ideas behind the Constructionist Learning Laboratory. Although