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Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas 2nd Edition

21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0465046744
ISBN-10: 0465046746
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Seymour Papert is Lego Professor of Mathematics and Education at MIT, where he is also co-founder of the artificial intelligence and media laboratories.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 2 edition (August 4, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465046746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465046744
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 19, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best book I have ever read on how to assist people to learn for themselves. Papert began his work by collaborating with Jean Piaget, and then applied those perspectives in a self-programming language designed to help children learn math and physics.
Papert explains Piaget's work and provides case studies of how the programming language, LOGO, can help. He provides a wonderful contrasting explanation of the weaknesses of how math and physics are usually taught in schools.
I learned quite a few things from this that I did not know before. People are very good at developing theories about why things work the way they do. I knew that these theories are almost always wrong. What I did not realize is that if you give the person a way to test their theory, the person will keep devising new theories until they hit on one that works. What is usually missing in education is the means to allow that testing to occur.
An especially imaginative part of this book were the discussions of how to create theory testing solutions that are much simpler and easier to apply than any school problem you ever saw in these subjects. Papert works from a very fundamental and deep understanding of math and physics to reach the heart of the most useful thought processes for applying these subjects. It is thrilling to read about what you have known for many years, and to suddenly see it in a totally different and improved perspective.
Another benefit I got from this book were plenty of ideas for how to help my teenage daughter with her math. She is very verbal, and Papert points out that math seldom teaches a vocabulary for talking about math. As a result, she memorizes a lot and gets dissociated from the subject.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Jerry P. on January 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
It would be hard to find a better book than this. While Prof. Papert discusses the language Logo, which he invented, the book is about much more than a computer language. It is about how children (and adults as well) learn and about revolutionary ideas about teaching and the power of thinking. He discusses many real-life children he worked with, some with learning problems. He opens your mind to the proper use of computers in the education system. For example, if you wanted your child to really learn French, you couldn't do better than allow him to live in France for a while; similarly, if you want your child to learn math, why not let him live in 'Mathland' - an environment created in a computer where math can be explored in a fun way and yet must be learned in order to explore and prosper. Papert explains this and many more powerful ideas. This is a must read book for anyone interested in the learning process.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Karen Carney on March 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you ever wondered why you didn't "get it" in a hated school subject, even though you seem to "get it" in other parts of your life, read this book. Pappert discusses learning, teaching and the liberating role that technology--if done right--can play in the classroom and out of it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book provides an introduction to Papert's thinking concerning the learning and teaching of math. Prior to developing the LOGO language described in this book, Papert worked closely with Piaget in Switzerland for 5 years. While in Switzerland, Papert observed many of Piaget's experiments with children and the development of their understanding of mathematical concepts. Following Piaget, Papert believed that the math learning that the child comes to know best and that stays with the child always comes from experience and cognition, not from explicit teaching or rote practice. He noted, however, that there were certain mathematical concepts that children should come to know, but that they wouldn't ordinarily learn from experience alone because they might not come across these ideas in ordinary life. This is why he invented the programming language LOGO--a toy that children could play with, experiment with, manipulate, and through doing so, gradually come to call their own the mathematical concepts needed for their games.

To make LOGO attractive to kids, he included a "turtle" as the central figure of the language. The turtle carried a pen that could be used to trace the turtle's movement through the play area or on a computer screen. The challenge was for kids to write programs in LOGO that would instruct the turtle how to move and when to use the pen so that it would draw shapes in the forms that they wanted. When the turtle didn't make the shapes they wanted, they were instructed to "be the turtle," in order to understand the turtle's perspective, and to figure out how they needed to adjust their programs.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Kasumu O. Salawu on July 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a book that anyone interested in present-day education of children everywhere should find time to read. For a few weeks, in the summer of 2001, I introduced teenagers in the W. E. B. DuBois Scholars' Program, held on the campus of Princeton University, to the Logo computer programming language invented by the author of this book, MIT professor, Seymour Papert. A leader in the DuBois program sought me out to congratulate me and quoted the students as having repeated over and over that they were ecstatic about what they were learning in my class and that it alone was worth their live-in participation. Indeed, I saw the glow in their eyes and a strong desire to be explorers with Turtle Graphics. Ditto for when I joined fellow volunteers from the MIT Alumni Club of New York City to employ Lego to guide the learning of robotics at Hunter College Elementary School for gifted students in upper Manhattan.

There is something engaging about the constructivist learning philosophy advocated in Professor Papert's books, beginning with the first edition of this book, [1980]. The open secret was that these students directed their collaboration with the computer in their own journey to discover knowledge and this book explains the confluence of ideas from science, mathematics and modeling that brings about this immersion. When a child can learn, in one week, how recursion works in mathematics, a topic normally taught in graduate courses in computer science, someone has donated a gift!

The challenge to teachers looking for traditional instructions for students in this setting is that this approach is relatively rule-agnostic and that makes some people feel uncomfortable.
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