The Children's Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer

The Children's Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer

The Children's Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer

The Children's Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

It is often said that we are entering the information age. This coming period could equally be called the age of learning: The sheer quantity of learning taking place in the world is already many times greater than in the past.

Not very long ago, and in many parts of the world even today, young people would learn skills they could use in their work throughout life. Today, in industrial countries, most people are doing jobs that did not exist when they were born. The most important skill determining a person's life pattern has already become the ability to learn new skills, to take in new concepts, to assess new situations, to deal with the unexpected. This will be increasingly true in the future: The competitive ability is the ability to learn.

What is true for individuals is even more true for nations. The competitive strength of a nation in the modern world is directly proportional to its learning capacity; that is, a combination of the learning capacities of the individuals and the institutions of the society.

Individual and institutional learning capacities do not always go together. For example, conditions in the Soviet Union bred a . . .

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