Sunday, February 10, 2013

Looking Back to the Future! Seymour Papert - Learning vs. Teaching

Education with an Emphasis on LEARNING not Teaching!
Seymour Papert the Teacher Activist. :)

"Nothing enrages me more than when people criticize my criticism of school by telling me that schools are not just places to learn math and spelling, they are places where children learn a vaguely defined thing called socialization. I know. I think schools generally do an effective and terribly damaging job of teaching children to be infantile, dependent, intellectually dishonest, passive and disrespectful to their own developmental capacities."

“The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge.”

"I am convinced that the best learning takes place when the learner takes charge..."

"What would happen if children who can't do math grew up in Mathland, a place that is to math what France is to French? "

“Our interest is really in Third World development. I believe that it's essential to solving the problems of poverty, violence, and environment, to have better education.” 

"[the children] become producers instead of consumers of educational software."

Have you listened to the wonderful Keynote by @Gardner Campbell 'Ecologies of Yearning' we were supposed to watch for #edcmooc? I highly recommend it! And I was pleased to hear him mention  Seymour Papert who is also my hero. Some years ago by accident I stumbled one night on the documentary below and instantly was mesmerized. Here was somebody who understood why I had hated school. If this is the first time for you are hearing Papert, I hope you will enjoy it and be as touched by it as I was. If you already know him, I hope you will havce fun revisiting his powerful ideas. I still can't believe that suddenly I will be able to participate in the #medialabcourse "Learning Creative Learning" that starts tomorrow. ( #medialabcourse is open even if you missed the sign up deadline. visit the Google+ communityThe Lifelong Kindergarden Group and Mitchell Resnick took Papert's ideas and created Scratch, but I will make a post about that soon too. So for now: Enjoy Seymour Papert!

Seymour Papert 1983 - Talking Turtles Documentary:

Go visit for more!

Seymour Papert on Online Learning and Universities
During the summer of 2000, Dr. Seymour Papert prepared a short keynote address on the future of higher education for a conference in Italy.

Seymour Papert on Online Learning and Universities from Gary Stager on Vimeo.

Seymour Papert at Bates College - 2000

Seymour Papert at Bates College - 2000 from Gary Stager on Vimeo.

Seymour Papert in Sydney, Australia 2004

Seymour Papert in Sydney, Australia 2004 from Gary Stager on Vimeo.

Freire and Papert
The following discussion between Seymour Papert and the Brazilian philosopher and educator Paolo Freire took place in Brazil during the late 1980s. It was sponsored by Pontifícia Universidade Católica, the Catholic University of São Paulo; and the Afternoon Journal TV show. It was broadcast in Brazil by TV PUC São Paulo and KTV Solucoes.

Freire and Papert from Gary Stager on Vimeo.

Seymour Papert's CUE Conference Keynote Address (2000)
This one I couldn't embed so here is what Gary Stager the uploader write about it:
"In May 2000, Seymour Papert delivered a barn-burner of a keynote address at the California Computer Using Educators Conference in Palm Springs, CA. The venue was a tent with large fans blowing and planes flying overhead. The organization made no attempt to record the speech professionally, so what you have here is an amateur attempt to capture history with the gear I had with me. The audio quality is often hard to deal with. I hope to improve it in the future. Fortunately, a transcript of this important address is now online at"

I will repost two comments of mine that I made talking to +Sandra Sinfield on a post, where she asks the great question if "lurkers" could be just learners doing it their way.
I don't have much time right now, but I would love to share with you my learning experience and why I am so in love by Papert's approach to learning. In these comments I try to explain:

"When I want to learn something I do what most teachers (especially in music) despise: I listen to and watch a lot of different teachers/people explain what I want to learn and usually I am lucky and pretty soon it klicks. I do spend time with the ones whose "language" doesn't speak to me, but I never despair and move on if it doesn't fit.

I don't think it's always the case that some people are better at explaining, it's more like my brain is focused on something in particular and theirs on something else. Sometimes I am lucky and I find somebody who explains it the way I need it in that moment, but more often I find some who explain one part of the problem perfectly and somebody else in a different context/tutorial who suddenly (or is it me?) can explain what was missing in a single sentence.

I think it might be that for me looking at things from different perspectives really helps me understanding things. I think personally I would be bored to death or despairing if I had to read a lot about other students approaches in learning, the moment when I try to understand a certain problem/topic. But (like here in this mooc) I love to "surf their streams", read about their approaches and find new tools and advice when I don't have to = time to fool around. That really helps and I have to say that sometimes I hear better explanations from students who are not perfect than from accomplished teachers.

So yes I believe learning from each other is great and makes it easier. Sharing knowledge always is. I also found that you learn best trying to explain something to somebody. I think you have that totally right, the 'lurker' should be seen as a learner doing it their way and there are so many ways! Some people really need a framework, I need a lot of info and freedom to follow my thoughts. There are also people who like to start with baby steps and the easy parts, I always want the big picture first and get confused when I have to start with little bits and pieces.


"Learning ended up to be the topic most dear to my heart, because school was so horrible for me and the realization that I love learning came so late (I was 25...). I so wish I could change this experience for other people, especially children. I hate that so many people come out of school, knowing only one thing for sure: what they supposedly can't ever learn and don't have a talent for. Makes me so angry. I think school is made for very linear people and so mostly only these people succeed. Others I guess don't have a chance or the endurance to live with that linearity to become teachers....

Did you see the Learning Creative Learning course? It's the last day to sign up today, but you could also just follow the lectures and readings - a really open course! When I saw the "Talking Turtels " documentary on youtube a couple years ago and read about the Life Long Kindergaden Group, that was the first time I ever felt somebody understands how I need to learn. Falling passionately in love with something and creating things being able to choose how freely. I think Papert got it so right and I can't believe 30 years later this still hasn't taken over classrooms. So sad... And through my experience I know that this works for grown ups too. If you don't know about this and If you have some time I highly recommend to check it out.

I am so excited that I can be part of this! Reading about his approach gave me a lot of back up, when after my first success in free learning (My friend encouraged me to switch from drawing comics to make an animation movie, so I learned a computer program while doing just that) I decided to also give it a try and learn something I thought I would never be able to do: making music with an instrument! Learning and creating for sure is the what makes me happiest in life , and I almost missed it.

I am sure you maybe already know about Papert and Resnick but just in case you don't and feel curious :) here is one chapter of Paperts book: "Mindstorms" online: "

#edcmooc,  #medialabcourse , #utopia, #autodidacticism, #peer2peer, #documentary, #talks

Creative Commons License
Work by Céline Keller is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported LicenseFiles, Pictures and Videos might not be.
Post a Comment