LAST ONE/WEEK 5: LOGO’s Roots: Piaget and AI, Images of the Learning Society

“The obstacle to the growth of popular computer cultures is cultural, for example, the mismatch between the computer culture embedded in the machines of today and the cultures of the homes they will go into. And if the problem is cultural the remedy must be cultural.” 

"ENCORE ENCORE" It's been a blast samba book club!

Things to think about:

  1. Paper writes, “In the schools math is math and history is history and juggling is outside the intellectual pale.” How could we teach/learn in a way that’s less compartmentalized and builds connections between seemingly distinct disciplines (e.g. math, history or poetry)?

  2. In the final chapter of the book, Papert describes Brazilian samba schools as a radical model of education that can be contrasted with traditional schools. Central to the success of this model is the notion that what is being learned is deeply connected to the wider culture. How could we transform subjects that are seen as academic or irrelevant to daily life into something that’s more culturally relevant?

  3. Papert writes, “LOGO environments are not samba schools, but they are useful for imaging what it would be like to have a “samba school for mathematics.” Such a thing was simply not conceivable until very recently.” What might a samba school for math (or any other subject) look like?

Cool resources/links:

“You want to break these constraints, but also raise a functioning adult, you want to fight the system and raise them within the system” – Leah
“We learn that tests and deadlines are the reasons to take action. This puts those with good short-term memories and a positive response to pressure in leadership positions, leading to urgency-based thinking, regardless of the circumstance.” - Excerpt from Adrienne Maree Brown. “Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds.”
"ENCORE! ENCORE!" - Elizabeth
"We are basically the Samba school in the book" - Lawrence (paraphrased) 
Culturally resonant pedagogy - "Preventing student disengagement and keeping students on the graduation path in urban middle-grades schools: Early identification and effective interventions." Educational Psychologist 42.4 (2007): 223-235.

Importance of culture: From a study of high schools in disadvantaged areas: "Important of school as a community/teachers caring && whether kids thought that material was interesting and relevant" --> Care about the stuff and care about the people
Awesome Ted Talk!!


Lawrence -

Guillaume's beautiful grammar annotation

"how we think about our knowledge affects how we think about ourselves [..] Our image of knowledge as divided up into different kinds leads us to a view of people as divided up according to what their aptitudes are." (pg 171).  
For me this has been one of the strongest messages of the book. Our earliest exposures to a subject in school and our first impressions can leave a life-long impression by causing us to categorize ourselves into math-people or art-people or theater-people or whatever. And tying a particular subculture to our identity usualy means that we also actively deny our ability to thrive in another subculture (hence the art vs science divide). This relates to a couple of other things I've read.  
1. Carol Dweck's work on growth mindset shows that the metaphors that we use when we think about learning (e.g. the math brain is a muscle that you can grow (growth mindset) vs. the everyone is alloted a certain aptitude for math at birth (fixed mindset)) affects how people perform in subjects, and that adopting a growth minset can help people learn things they otherwise would not have assumed they were able to. This relates to Papert's example in an earlier example of how many of us think we can't juggle because we identify ourselves as clumsy or lacking in hand-eye coordination, whereas if we focus on the process of acquiring a skill rather than on a self-reinforcing identity, it's possible to get better at it. 2. I was reading a paper ( on how metaphors shape our ability to reason. It lists some interesting examples on how the metaphors that people use to describe a phenomenon shape their attitude and behavior about that phenomenon. One example is that if crime is described using the metaphor of a virus, people are more likely to support treating crime through social reform (i.e. diagnose and treat it like a disease), whereas if it's described using the metaphor of a 'beast', people are likelier to support enforcement options like more prisons and policing (i.e. to hunt and cage the aggressor). 3. The modern creative coding movement is a great way to bridge science with art by showing that they can both inform each other in the process of making something delightful. Going back to the book, I think 'objects to think with' are essentially metaphors that help us make abstract ideas more concrete. The turtle is one such metaphor. I think a big part of what makes Processing so popular is that it's based on a 'flip book' metaphor of programming. If we come up with more interesting and relatable metaphors for computing (or any abstract topic), more people will be able to relate to it. And, as Papert argues in the last chapter, we might also end up understanding the subject more deeply in the process. --------------------------- In thinking about how we could adapt the samba school model of learning to teaching topics like programming, one approach I've recenty come across and have found fascinating is starting with something more hands-on and tactile like crafts and linking it to programming. This works particularly well for situations where the craft is a kind of computational object or artifact, i.e. a form of craft to which computation ideas can be applied. eg. Natalie Freed taught a workshop on how bookbinding can lead you into graph theory or this post on creating Adinkra stamps with Scratch or this on 'crafting with code'


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