The book celebrates the 50th anniversary of a seminal paper by Cynthia Solomon and Seymour Papert. Published in 1971, Twenty Things to Do with a Computer, set the course of education for the next fifty years and beyond. I created the new book, Twenty Things to Do with a Computer Forward 50, to honor the vision set forth by Papert and Solomon a half-century ago. Four dozen experts from around the world invite us to consider the original provocations, reflect on their implementation, and chart a course for the future through personal recollections, learning stories, and imaginative scenarios.
Eight Big Ideas Behind the Constructionist Learning Lab By Dr. Seymour Papert (1999) From the Ph.D. dissertation, “An Investigation of Constructionism in the Maine Youth Center,” by Gary Stager, 2007. A number of translations of this document into other languages may be found here. The first big idea is learning by doing. We all learn
“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)