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The Children's Machine: Rethinking School In The Age Of The Computer [Paperback]

Seymour Papert
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 29, 1994 0465010636 978-0465010639 Reprint
In his classsic book, Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and powerful Ideas, Seymour Papert set out a vision of how computers could change school. In The Children’s Machine he now looks back over a decade during which American schools acquired more than three million computers and assesses progress and resistance to progress.

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The Children's Machine: Rethinking School In The Age Of The Computer + Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas + The Connected Family: Bridging the Digital Generation Gap
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Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

The genially unorthodox author of Mindstorms (1983) again makes a stimulating case for computers as a primary route to knowledge, revising and expanding earlier observations in view of disappointing school policies of the past dozen years. Rejecting most schools as ``sluggish and timid'' in assuring access to learning, Papert (Mathematics and Education/MIT) divides the conservative education world into ``Schoolers'' (who acknowledge underlying problems but focus on short-term urgent ones) and ``Yearners'' (who create their own small-scale alternatives) as he considers why technology hasn't revolutionized school learning. Championing computers for offering forms of learning that can be ``quick, immensely compelling, and rewarding,'' Papert contends that Logo (the computer language he conceived) is a superior mode of learning for young children, closer to their informal learning style than traditional classroom approaches and invaluable as a medium for most areas of study. But schools have ignored computers' broad capacities, he finds, isolating these tools from the learning process instead of integrating them into all areas of instruction. Papert offers a steady supply of examples--from his own extensive experience as well as from assorted classrooms--providing evidence of computers as powerful learning allies. He also understands the nature of learning--the importance of the personal element in any classroom exchange; the need to adapt a learning-environment design to its social and cultural milieu; the ``internal censors'' that students bring to required work; and the way that ordered ideas can emerge from an imprecise, undirected process. Even those who resist Papert's belief that the foundation of modern schooling is faulty will agree with his central theme that the ability to learn new skills is the most critical skill of all- -and that computers have a unique, accelerating role to play in developing that ability. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Seymour Papert holds the Lego Chair for Learning Research at MIT. He is the author of Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Reprint edition (April 29, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465010636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465010639
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking November 13, 2000
This was an interesting book that did a good job of bringing up controversial and thought-provoking subjects relating to education and technology. Although Papert makes some good points about how technology could be better utilized in the classroom, he takes the extreme point of view that it could and should totally revolutionize the way that kids learn and that schools operate. Whether or not you as the reader agree with him or not, it is a good read for anyone interested in either education or technology that is sure to make you at least analyze your own points of view on both topics.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The way a computer "should" be used in education December 13, 2007
Papert makes some very interesting points in this book about how computers are currently used in schools and how they should be used in schools. Papert explains traditional schools use computers as a substitute for the teacher. Meaning, programs are written to simulate what a teacher would do and the program is often looking for a very specific right or wrong answer. Papert suggests a better use of the computer is to allow the child or student to control what the computer does. This is possible by a programming language called Logo which was developed by Papert while working at MIT. The programming language uses a turtle, who receives instructions from the student in the form of commands, as the basis for learning. The student then has the ability to make the turtle behave in any creative way he or she wishes. One of the key benefits is rather than looking for a specific answer to a question, this use of the computer allows the student to explore and be creative even learning from their mistakes. I've used Logo and can say this is an excellent way for 'anyone' to learn.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Papert is THE authority while speaking about innovation in teaching technologies and microwolrds. I'd recommend this book to any educator seeking fresh points of view. Do not look for recipes, but for good advice.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Children's Machine December 11, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Children's Machine addresses the many ways students learn. Papert uncovers the reality that students learn opposite of how our westernized world sees this process. According to Papert, students learn naturally outside the four walls of a classroom in which literacy is seen as only teachable through textbooks. The Children's Machine uncovers the deficiencies by which most schools run that prevents students from learning as they should, in a self-directed manner where there are answers other than yes or no. Shades of grey are more accepted in Papert's constructivist view of education he outlines in the book rather than the "official theory" of learning which only sees black and white. Papert has self-created the LOGO program, MicroWorlds. With this program, Papert further illustrates how students can learn without restrictions. Students are encouraged to experiment and use the computer as a tool to shape their own thinking. Mistakes are encouraged, as these mistakes will be formed into discoveries. Another recommended read: Mindstorms.
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