Thursday, August 14, 2008

walter bender's 23 questions

twenty-three questions on technology and education

Seymour Papert asked a number of probing questions about the nature of School and the use of computers in School, which originated from Piaget's ideas about how children learn and which initially focused around a piece of software or "object to think" with called logo. I see Walter's list as continuing in this tradition with some updates involving issues arising from networking, the prospect and new reality of far cheaper, mobile computers, the FOSS model, the need to scale learning democratically and others.

Some of the questions strike a strong chord with me (eg. 2, 9, 10, 11, 14, 18, 22) whilst others push me in the direction of the need to expand my areas of knowledge or expertise. For me, the main point is not that the questions are the best possible questions or whether the categories are correct but the meta issue that new innovative hardware / software (OLPC or Sugar as "object to think with") creates the need for thinkers to step forward and ask questions like this that span multiple disciplines (computer science, engineering, education, economics and social sciences). We need polymaths.

I think the stage we are at is getting the questions right as well as the answers - that walter's act of modelling such a process would bear fruit if others took up the same challenge that he has taken up, to be a grass roots intellectual spanning disciplines as well as having expertise in particular domains. In many ways this is going against the dominant trend of intellectual discourse (truth slips from view ... ), so I'm grateful to Walter for giving it a try.

No comments: