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Re: [mendenyo] Re: [learningfromeachother] Ref Andrius Kulikauskas [livingbytruth] Seymour Papert and learning to learn/think

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  • Edward Cherlin
    ... Indeed. I look forward to it. ... What are you working on? ... -- Edward Mokurai
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 24, 2011
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      On Sun, Apr 24, 2011 at 14:36, Pamela McLean <pam54321@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > Hi Ed
      >
      > I love your vision. At some point I hope we are going to connect up properly. There is so much overlap in our interests, concerns and approaches.

      Indeed. I look forward to it.

      > At present I'm not working directly with children - but I do still care about education.

      What are you working on?

      > Pamela
      >
      > On 18 April 2011 05:49, Edward Cherlin <echerlin@...> wrote:
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >> On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 03:36, Samwel Kongere <jambita1@...> wrote:
      >> > Edward,
      >> > Your input here is beneficial as i currently work with children with disability.
      >>
      >> I am legally disabled with ADHD, and my children have it, also. We
      >> have struggled endlessly with schools over our different learning
      >> styles. One tactic that my mother suggested successfully was to allow
      >> me to do work that was different from the standard course, and harder.
      >> This unfortunately was not acceptable at the schools my children
      >> attended.
      >>
      >> But then, all children suffer from a grievous disability. They are
      >> children, and adults do not take them seriously. I mean to change
      >> that, with the help of a lot of others.
      >>
      >> > Samwel.
      >> >
      >> > On Sat Apr 9th, 2011 6:49 AM Etc/GMT+12 Edward Cherlin wrote:
      >> >
      >> >>As I have learned it, the essence of Papert's Constructionism is that
      >> >>children learn best by making things that enable them to improve their
      >> >>internal models of the world, and then helping each other to make them
      >> >>better. This goes beyond direct experience as passive spectators, or
      >> >>even as active inquirers. It is also a model of how real-world work is
      >> >>supposed to be done.
      >> >>
      >> >>There is a range of such activities, including making physical
      >> >>objects, writing reports, creating portfolios, writing programs to
      >> >>tell the computer what to do, writing programs to tell a robot what to
      >> >>do, writing programs to make physical objects, and so on.
      >> >>
      >> >>I work with people, at One Laptop Per Child, Sugar Labs, and
      >> >>elsewhere, who are designing software and content to implement such
      >> >>ideas in the classroom. I find it essential to discuss ideas such as
      >> >>Constructionism in the context of real applications. Otherwise we have
      >> >>no way of knowing whether we are talking about the same subject.
      >> >>
      >> >>What versions of Constructionism have you seen? Most of the accounts I
      >> >>have read are highly confused and one-sided. There is a strong
      >> >>tendency to confuse Constructionism with Piaget's  Constructivism,
      >> >>which is indeed part of Papert's proposal, or with any of the dozens
      >> >>of other theories under the same or similar names
      >> >>
      >> >>You wrote
      >> >>
      >> >>>> when I respond to what is written about his work I respond
      >> >>>> across the full spectrum - ranging from great appreciation and
      >> >>>> enthusiasm for his ideas at one extreme to cynicism at the other.
      >> >>
      >> >>I would advise you to ignore what others have written about Papert's
      >> >>work (even me), and to read his own writings.
      >> >>
      >> >>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructionist_learning
      >> >>
      >> >>Seymour Papert defined constructionism in a proposal to the National
      >> >>Science Foundation entitled Constructionism: A New Opportunity for
      >> >>Elementary Science Education
      >> >>
      >> >>http://nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=8751190
      >> >>
      >> >>as follows: "The word constructionism is a mnemonic for two aspects of
      >> >>the theory of science education underlying this project. From
      >> >>constructivist theories of psychology we take a view of learning as a
      >> >>reconstruction rather than as a transmission of knowledge. Then we
      >> >>extend the idea of manipulative materials to the idea that learning is
      >> >>most effective when part of an activity the learner experiences as
      >> >>constructing a meaningful product."
      >> >>
      >> >>As Papert and Idit Harel say at the start of Situating Constructionism,
      >> >>
      >> >>http://www.papert.org/articles/SituatingConstructionism.html
      >> >>
      >> >>"It is easy enough to formulate simple catchy versions of the idea of
      >> >>constructionism; for example, thinking of it as 'learning-by-making'.
      >> >>One purpose of this introductory chapter is to orient the reader
      >> >>toward using the diversity in the volume to elaborate—to construct—a
      >> >>sense of constructionism much richer and more multifaceted, and very
      >> >>much deeper in its implications, than could be conveyed by any such
      >> >>formula."
      >> >>
      >> >>I do not find Papert's ideas to be fundamentally new. I find his
      >> >>implementation of those ideas to be unlike anything else in the world,
      >> >>except for those of his students and co-workers. Not at the same level
      >> >>as the differences between Copernicus and Newton on planetary orbits,
      >> >>but of a similar kind.
      >> >>
      >> >>On Sat, Apr 2, 2011 at 00:21, Andrius Kulikauskas <ms@...> wrote:
      >> >>> Pamela,
      >> >>>
      >> >>> Thank you for your letter. It's amazing, all that you've done. I'm glad
      >> >>> that we might work together. You've written about your past. It would be
      >> >>> great if you wrote such a letter about your future. I should likewise.
      >> >>> Meanwhile, I've written a list of activities for organizing the kingdom
      >> >>> of heaven:
      >> >>> http://www.selflearners.net/Culture/
      >> >>> Those are all places where we might overlap. In particular, I'm
      >> >>> documenting and sharing ways of "figuring things out". I'll send out a
      >> >>> letter that I've written about how I'm doing that in math.
      >> >>>
      >> >>> Peace,
      >> >>>
      >> >>> Andrius
      >> >>>
      >> >>> Andrius Kulikauskas, http://www.selflearners.net, ms@..., (773)
      >> >>> 306-3807, @selflearners
      >> >>>
      >> >>>
      >> >>> 2011.03.26 16:53, Pamela McLean rašė:
      >> >>>> Hi Andrius <http://www.dadamac.net/network/andrius-kulikauskas> and
      >> >>>> readers of my open letters at http://dadamac.posterous.com
      >> >>>> <http://dadamac.posterous.com/> and LearningFromEachOther
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Andrius
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> There are many interesting ideas and topics in your email copied
      >> >>>> below. As I was reading it my mind responded to so much - much more
      >> >>>> that I can possibly write here. I've highlighted areas I found of
      >> >>>> particular interest and will just give some observations related to
      >> >>>> them. Maybe we will discuss further some other time.
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> I've been interested in ICT in education since way back when
      >> >>>> "micro-computers" were just coming into existence (I was Pamela Fiddy
      >> >>>> then, not McLean) - this means that I was a fan of Papert's work on
      >> >>>> logo when it was happening. I was an early experimenter with his ideas
      >> >>>> - and friends of mine were involved in making the various "floor
      >> >>>> turtles" that brought the whole thing to life in ways beyond
      >> >>>> representations on the screen.
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> I recognise and admire his work with computers in education as being
      >> >>>> very innovative. I also observed in various schools just how much of
      >> >>>> his ideas had actually filtered through into classroom practice. This
      >> >>>> means when I respond to what is written about his work I respond
      >> >>>> across the full spectrum - ranging from great appreciation and
      >> >>>> enthusiasm for his ideas at one extreme to cynicism at the other.
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> However when I read about Papert and that he developed
      >> >>>> "constructionist learning" I have very mixed feeling. I know he was
      >> >>>> innovative regarding computer use in education (those of us who were
      >> >>>> around at the time of Mindstorms used to hang on his every word), but
      >> >>>> I don't have the same feeling about him as an innovator regarding
      >> >>>> education in general. The quotes that are ascribed to him regarding
      >> >>>> education are good, but (from the viewpoint of an infant and junior
      >> >>>> teacher trained in the 1970s) the educational theory seems to me to be
      >> >>>> nothing special - good, but not particularly original - it just
      >> >>>> reminds me of what we were taught to do.
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> The quotes you give tie in with the essays that we wrote at college on
      >> >>>> such topics as "The child is the agent of his own learning" (that
      >> >>>> title seems permanently lodged in my brain). "Constructionist
      >> >>>> learning" ties in with our tutors' insistence that we should never
      >> >>>> give children second-hand experience of anything that we could
      >> >>>> conceivably have offered as a first-hand experience.
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> When I started to teach we weren't directed by the national
      >> >>>> curriculum, and, although we were "in loco parentis" we weren't
      >> >>>> constrained by a risk-averse "health and safety gone mad" culture. We
      >> >>>> had all kinds of freedoms to take unexpected opportunities to learn.
      >> >>>> For instance I remember when the firemen came unexpectedly to test the
      >> >>>> fire-hydrant outside our school. I quickly took my class out to see
      >> >>>> what was happening. The firemen were great and let us watch and ask
      >> >>>> questions. It was a sunny day and so they made special "showers of
      >> >>>> rain" for us with the hose so that we could see rainbows. It was one
      >> >>>> more shared experience that the children and I could draw on in our
      >> >>>> subsequent thinking and talking and making sense of our world. Isn't
      >> >>>> that the kind of thins the "constructivists" are talking about - or am
      >> >>>> I missing something?
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> I admit I haven't read that much about "constructivism" - but from
      >> >>>> what I have read, I can't see what is so special and new about it
      >> >>>> (though I'm ready to be shown). I'm not meaning to belittle Papert,
      >> >>>> but it seems to me that there is a wrong emphasis. I think of other
      >> >>>> great teachers too, and wonder if they are being equally recognised. I
      >> >>>> think fro instance of Zoltan Dienes
      >> >>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zolt%C3%A1n_P%C3%A1l_Dienes who was a
      >> >>>> wonderful teacher - in theory and in practice. I remember a day of
      >> >>>> watching him teach and the key thing that I learned from him. "Never
      >> >>>> teach a generalisation". He believed we should give enough experience
      >> >>>> of specific examples so that the children could then generate their
      >> >>>> own generalisation - from which they could subsequently confidently
      >> >>>> generate their own additional specific examples. (This process can't
      >> >>>> be hurried - sometimes it can take months - and it is wonderful to
      >> >>>> watch the "aha!" moment when a generalisation dawns).
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Regarding OLPC - I don't often join in the OLPC debate (partly because
      >> >>>> I do respect some of the people involved and some of the good work
      >> >>>> that has come out of the project) but, with you Andrius, I will share
      >> >>>> my frustration at the way that some OLPC people seem to suggest they
      >> >>>> are the only people in the world to see the benefit of enabling
      >> >>>> children to learn by doing.
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> End of my rant.
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> I love the ideas of Kestas Augutis - all new to me - thank you. You
      >> >>>> never cease to impress me with the range of interesting people that
      >> >>>> you know
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> I'm interested too in your sequences, hierarchies and networks - not
      >> >>>> just for personal learning and/or bodies of knowledge, but also in
      >> >>>> connection with how we structure knowledge online.
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> You and I definitely share an interest in thinking and learning. The
      >> >>>> short title of my final dissertation at college was "Think child!" - I
      >> >>>> explored what that meant in the context of various aspects of Bloom's
      >> >>>> taxonomy of educational objectives
      >> >>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom%27s_Taxonomy
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> When I did my OU degree that "Think child!" dissertation and my
      >> >>>> practical work as a teacher were both at the core of all my studies -
      >> >>>> which related to decision making, the ordering of information,
      >> >>>> systems, computers, artificial intelligence, and so on. That was
      >> >>>> followed by my theoretical and practical investigations of the role of
      >> >>>> computers in primary education.
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Much later of course, in Minciu Sodas, you gave me the opportunity to
      >> >>>> investigate ideas about teachers and learners and ICT - the changing
      >> >>>> roles - emerging systems of education in the 21st century. That
      >> >>>> interest (theoretical and practical) is still lurking and developing
      >> >>>> in my practical work with dadamac and my experiments at dadamac.net
      >> >>>> <http://dadamac.net>, posterous and elsewhere.
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Your email ends "Who would like to learn about learning? along with me?"
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Maybe it would be good to explore further with each other our
      >> >>>> overlapping interests in learning about learning.
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Pamela
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      >> >>>> From: *Andrius Kulikauskas* <ms@... <mailto:ms@...>>
      >> >>>> Date: 2011/3/25
      >> >>>> Subject: [livingbytruth] Seymour Papert and learning to learn/think
      >> >>>> To: learningfromeachother <learningfromeachother@yahoogroups.com
      >> >>>> <mailto:learningfromeachother@yahoogroups.com>>,
      >> >>>> mathfuture@... <mailto:mathfuture@...>,
      >> >>>> livingbytruth@yahoogroups.com <mailto:livingbytruth@yahoogroups.com>
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> I wrote this for another group. Perhaps it will spark ideas. Andrius
      >> >>>> Kulikauskas
      >> >>>> ------------------------------------------
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Seymour Papert's work is popular in Lithuania. I'm glad that you've
      >> >>>> inspired me to learn more how remarkable he is. Still,I think we're
      >> >>>> just in the early days of "constructionist" learning, as he called it.
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> I'm curious why you focus on teaching kids rather than adults to
      >> >>>> learn/think. I feel as if there are two camps:
      >> >>>> * People who want to teach children. They consider it the optimal age
      >> >>>> to teach because it keeps children out of trouble, gives them something
      >> >>>> to do, and most adults aren't teachable, especially if they haven't been
      >> >>>> taught as children, or they aren't competent or interested to teach or
      >> >>>> encourage their children.
      >> >>>> * People who want to teach adults. They consider it the optimal age
      >> >>>> because adults can learn from each other as (possible) equals (or
      >> >>>> unequals), the learning can be voluntary, and it can develop a shared
      >> >>>> culture. Whereas children often don't need to be taught, they can learn
      >> >>>> many things haphazardly, almost automatically, and they are ultimately
      >> >>>> influenced by adults who are interested (or not) in learning.
      >> >>>> I'm strongly in the second camp, mostly because I like to learn myself
      >> >>>> and I want to share what I'm learning, but from Minciu Sodas I know
      >> >>>> dedicated people in the first camp, like Edward Cherlin (advocate of
      >> >>>> OLPC and Sugar).
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Papert, a mathematician, worked with developmental psychologist Jean
      >> >>>> Piaget from 1958 to 1963
      >> >>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructivism_(learning_theory)
      >> >>>> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructivism_%28learning_theory%29>
      >> >>>> Piaget did many original experiments that made clear how children of
      >> >>>> different ages rely on internal models for judging, for example, which
      >> >>>> container holds more water, (say, the taller one), and that these models
      >> >>>> grow more sophisticated in predictable ways. "Individual learners
      >> >>>> construct mental models to understand the world around them". See
      >> >>>> Norman Anderson's information integration theory for a rigorous critique
      >> >>>> of Piaget's ideas and results (notably his belief that children can't
      >> >>>> integrate concepts), pg. 202, "A Functional Theory of Cognition".
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Papert developed "constructionist" learning:
      >> >>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructionist_learning
      >> >>>> "learning can happen most effectively when people are active in making
      >> >>>> tangible objects in the real world"
      >> >>>> * "learning as a reconstruction rather than as a transmission of
      >> >>>> knowledge"
      >> >>>> * "learning is most effective when part of an activity the learner
      >> >>>> experiences as constructing a meaningful product"
      >> >>>> which is related to John Dewey and "experiential education", where
      >> >>>> experience is central, there is interaction (internal needs/goals of a
      >> >>>> person) and continuity (from experience to experience).
      >> >>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experiential_education
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Papert was a proponent of bringing IT to the classrooms. He developed
      >> >>>> the Logo programming language (for writing simple programs to manipulate
      >> >>>> a Turtle on a screen, drawing pictures, thereby learn math, etc.) He
      >> >>>> wrote "Mindstorms: Children Computers and Powerful Ideas" (1980). Lego
      >> >>>> Mindstorms were named after the book. His Epistemology and Learning
      >> >>>> Research Group was a forerunner of the MIT Media Lab. He influenced
      >> >>>> Alan Kay, who led the team that developed Smalltalk at Xerox PARC, in
      >> >>>> part for constructionist learning, and who later created Squeak. Papert
      >> >>>> was hurt badly in an accident in 2006.
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> "Some of the most crucial steps in mental growth are based not simply on
      >> >>>> acquiring new skills, but on acquiring new administrative ways to use
      >> >>>> what one already knows". "Papert's principle" described in Marvin
      >> >>>> Minsky's "Society of the Mind":
      >> >>>> http://www.papert.org/articles/PapertsPrinciple.html
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Edith Ackermann's paper seems like a good comparison of Piaget's and
      >> >>>> Papert's views:
      >> >>>> http://learning.media.mit.edu/content/publications/EA.Piaget%20_%20Papert.pdf
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> In 1997, I moved to Lithuania and met Kestas Augutis, a hermit living in
      >> >>>> a swamp, but teaching kids computers (DOS, 286s, 386s) at the local
      >> >>>> school. The "Mindstorms" book had been translated into Lithuania, and
      >> >>>> the Logo language was and is popular:
      >> >>>> http://www.logo.lt http://www.jkm.lt/LOGO/2011/
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Kestas had noteworthy visions of education, including that every child
      >> >>>> should write three books:
      >> >>>> * an encyclopedia, organized as a network
      >> >>>> * a thesaurus, organized as a hierarchy
      >> >>>> * a chronicle, organized as a sequence
      >> >>>> These three books would be the outcome of the child's education, would
      >> >>>> show that they were ready for the world, and would be what they would
      >> >>>> build on throughout their life. He also thought every child should help
      >> >>>> build a house, as he did with his father. Kestas died in 1998 at the
      >> >>>> age of 43.
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> I liked his "three books" idea and, for my first project, I tried to
      >> >>>> write software for organizing thoughts in those three ways. Then I
      >> >>>> learned about TheBrain and MindManager and realized that there was a
      >> >>>> need for an import/export format (or modeling language) for getting
      >> >>>> collections of thoughts in and out of such tools. That led to Mindset
      >> >>>> http://www.ms.lt/mindset.html in 2001. (I was told by HP Bristol Labs
      >> >>>> that it was 10 years too early, but now in the age of Twitter, it might
      >> >>>> be timely.)
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> I made a list of examples to check whether information gets organized in
      >> >>>> sequences, hierarchies and networks, and surprisingly, I found out that
      >> >>>> it never does! Instead, it gets organized in pairs of these
      >> >>>> structures. For example, a sequence of historical events quickly
      >> >>>> becomes unwieldy and so it is reorganized into a hierarchy and becomes a
      >> >>>> "chronicle". I observed six types:
      >> >>>> * chronicle: sequence -> hierarchy
      >> >>>> * evolution: hierarchy -> sequence
      >> >>>> * catalog: hierarchy -> network
      >> >>>> * atlas: network -> hierarchy
      >> >>>> * canon: sequence -> network
      >> >>>> * tour: network -> sequence
      >> >>>> See: http://www.worknets.org/papers/organizingthoughts.html
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Is that a good start? Perhaps you can add some key ideas?
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> I'm very active in trying to understand how we figure things out,
      >> >>>> http://www.selflearners.net/ways/
      >> >>>> which is a key but neglected part of learning and thinking. It seems
      >> >>>> that we are still in very early days to teach people how to learn and
      >> >>>> think.
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Children are likely operating on an implicit approach that is better
      >> >>>> than anything we might explicitly teach them about learning. Compare
      >> >>>> their natural language acquisition skills and our educational methods
      >> >>>> for teaching language (or vision or faith or ...?)
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> I'm trying to do this from scratch. For example, what's worth
      >> >>>> teaching? Last year I decided that what's worth teaching is right and
      >> >>>> wrong. Reading, writing (if they are worthwhile) help us care about
      >> >>>> others. Mathematics (if it is worthwhile) builds models which are to
      >> >>>> some extent valid, and at some point invalid, and perhaps that helps us
      >> >>>> appreciate the relationship of system and spirit. I still don't know.
      >> >>>> Who knows? I'm working on my math ideas here:
      >> >>>> http://www.gospelmath.com/Math/DeepIdeas
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Who dares to teach children? I prefer to experiment on myself.
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Who would like to learn about learning? along with me?
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Andrius
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> Andrius Kulikauskas
      >> >>>> http://www.selflearners.net
      >> >>>> ms@... <mailto:ms@...>
      >> >>>> (773) 306-3807
      >> >>>> @selflearners
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>> ------------------------------------
      >> >>>>
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      >> >>>> livingbytruth-fullfeatured@yahoogroups.com
      >> >>>> <mailto:livingbytruth-fullfeatured@yahoogroups.com>
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>>
      >> >>>
      >> >>>
      >> >>>
      >> >>> ------------------------------------
      >> >>>
      >> >>> Each letter sent to Learning From Each Other enters the PUBLIC DOMAIN unless it explicitly states otherwise http://www.ethicalpublicdomain.org  Please be kind to our authors!Yahoo! Groups Links
      >> >>>
      >> >>>
      >> >>>
      >> >>>
      >> >>
      >> >>
      >> >>
      >> >>--
      >> >>Edward Mokurai (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) Cherlin
      >> >>Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
      >> >>The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.
      >> >>http://www.earthtreasury.org/
      >> >
      >> >
      >> >
      >> > ------------------------------------
      >> >
      >> > A Focus is being made on having a wireless internet connection for the
      >> > community to help them have a place for information handling and
      >> > transfer. There is motive of taking risks to help the community Develop.
      >> >
      >> > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >> >
      >> >
      >> >
      >> >
      >>
      >> --
      >> Edward Mokurai (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) Cherlin
      >> Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
      >> The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.
      >> http://www.earthtreasury.org/
      >
      >
      >
      >


      --
      Edward Mokurai (默雷/धर्ममेघशब्दगर्ज/دھرممیگھشبدگر ج) Cherlin
      Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
      The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.
      http://www.earthtreasury.org/
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