Monday, November 26, 2007

making better maps

Schools (and many adults) introduce another barrier, which is a profound misunderstanding of what it means to be fluent in math and science (the misunderstanding is usually in the form of thinking that math and science are fact and pattern based, and that learning the facts and the patterns is what is required)
- Alan Kay, Squeakland list reference
This confused me. If science and maths were not about facts and pattern recognition, then what were they about?

Short answer: Making better maps

Thoughts about teaching science and mathematics to young children
the maps "are always subject to improvement and rediscovery: they never completely represent the territory they are trying to map ..."

"... helping children actually do real science at the earliest possible ages is the best known way to help them move from simple beliefs in dogma to the more skeptical, empirically derived models of science"

"... as Piaget pointed out, it is best to think of children as thinking beings in their own right ..."

our culture is confusing and the science is often not central, it can easily be missed
Computers are seductive. I may have been focusing too much on motivation, or game making or programming as goals in themselves.

Also, computers are marketed as productivity tools with applications that attempt to do it all for us. Is that the best thing for learning? Probably not, but its more seduction.

Alan Kay points out that science knowledge in particular is a more expansive goal, perhaps a better pathway to help young children. The goal is to find child appropriate ways of teaching science. Computers can help here but that is just one possibility.

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