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

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BYOD: Vision, Rationale, Rollout

The work world is increasingly moving toward Bring Your Own Device models. Success in college and life beyond will be determined to no small degree by a student’s ability to adapt to different (technology infused) environments, and to use the technology in his/her hands to efficiently collaborate, communicate, create, and think critically and analytically. Schools are increasingly moving in this direction, as well. Here are some reasons why BYOD makes sense, and the steps and considerations schools should consider as they contemplate a move in the BYOD direction.

How is Technology Transforming Education

Happy New Year, and welcome back! I hope you’re settling into 2014 in a transformational mindset (or at the very least having enjoyed a peaceful end to the 2013 year)!

If you’re not, I hope you will consider watching  Sir Ken Robinson’s video below, which came across in the feed at my virtual newspaper, Educational Technology Today (I am offering free subscription in the New Year, which would be a great deal, except it is already free anyway).

My favorite quotes from Sir Ken Robinson’s talk is as follows:

“The tools themselves are creating cultural changes and possibilities which are really quite new. Our students are connected just with the people in the room around them, but with literally anybody on the planet they care to be connected to.”

Sir Robinson’s comments provide a link across time and space to my end-of-year post here at What’s Transforming Teaching and Learning? I wrote in December about paper.li and the potential of Twitter to link our students to the leading voices in their preferred fields of study. It may not be quite as easy to connect “with literally anybody” as Sir Robinson would suggest – not all of the leading voices post their thoughts in social media spaces or, if they do, they may not allow unfettered access to the virtual spaces that their thoughts inhabit.

With regard to his comments on creation, I only wish that Adobe wasn’t boosting CS prices to the point where schools are starting to have to consider free but inferior alternatives available in the marketplace.

Enjoy the video, and, again, thank you for visiting. I hope 2014 is all you wish it to be.

YouTube Synopsis:
Published on Dec 7, 2012

“Technology is changing the world rapidly, impacting the way students learn and opening new possibilities for educators. Take a look what Sir Ken Robinson had to say when asked about the role of technology in education.

Follow the series at http://adobe.ly/YT121R

How is technology is changing your classroom? Do you find that it is allowing for greater creatvitity? Join the conversation on Twitter using the #createnow hashtag and be sure to tag us at @adobeedu!”