Change Agent of the Day: Gary Stager on Seymour Papert

Happy hump day, change agents!

Wednesday is the hump in the work week, the day when we start looking toward the weekend ahead and to consider what we can reasonably accomplish with the rest of our work week given where we stand at midweek and what we expect of ourselves – and others expect of us – on both the work and family fronts.

Assessing where we currently stand on the hypothetical “change scale” is the subject of today’s brief post.

In highlighting “What’s Transforming Teaching and Learning Today,” as I strive to do in this virtual space as regularly as possible, I have neglected to mention the efforts of one particularly important and often overlooked change agent who has a lot to say about where we currently stand: Dr. Seymour Papert.

Much earlier than most, Papert embraced epistemological pluralism and the empathetic notion that computers can empower each individual learner to find ways best suited to him/herself to learn new skills and material.

As Papert predicted, though, the traditional unidirectional teaching paradigm – lecture based, paper-wasting, and privileging primarily those with the courage to raise their hands for their all-knowing teacher – is alive and well in our schools. What exists in schools today is primarily sporadic and idiosyncratic technology integration more geared toward Substitution and Augmentation rather than actual Modification or Redefinition on Ruben Puentadura’s SAMR model.

In his TEDx talk entitled “Seymour Papert: Inventor of Everything,” Gary Stager offers a wonderful overview of Papert’s thoughts and body of work, and contemplates “the backlash against modernity and the things that are in the best interests of kids.” Stager defines constructionism, addresses the connections between the thoughts of Papert and John Dewey, and offers case studies of this “backlash against modernity.”

On hump day, I celebrate Gary Stager for highlighting Papert’s important contributions to the change movement. It leaves me with the feeling that I have much to accomplish before taking a weekend rest. Seymour Papert: Inventor of Everything