Saturday, June 14, 2008

confessions of a fundamentalist

confessions of a fundamentalist, part one (OLPC news)
confessions of a fundamentalist, part two (OLPC news)
Berkman lunch, Walter Bender, Sugar labs by David Weinberger (some interesting parts there from the talk that are not included in the OLPC news article)

Walter Bender's talk is a good expose about getting the philosophical balance right between free software and learning in the here and now, that kids learning is the end goal and free software can be much more the means than it has been up to now in a Proprietary dominated world.

But in the rhetorical flourish of using Nicholas Negroponte's provocative words to obtain a catchy title for his talk I think Walter falls into a trap. Walter says free and open source (FOSS) is not fundamental but learning is. He then goes onto associate learning with constructionism (no other theory is mentioned) and so it begins to sound like constructionism is the fundamental "correct" learning theory.

Philosophically, we need to reject all fundamentalism. Physicists are still looking for new fundamental particles.

Learning theory is a mess. I have long argued that there is no unified learning theory and it is best to cherry pick.
There is no unified learning theory
from never mind, to structured mind, to messy mind
learning theory evolves (wiki)

This page of the wiki outlines some of the many learning theories (incomplete). Constructionism, as explained by Papert, is a great learning theory but certainly not the only one worth examining.

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