Bridgette Fincher- Masters in Educational Technology and Leadership. 2006

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Action Research Project


Papert, Pluralism and a Gripe!

hat follows is a discussion in Blackboard based on a reflection I had about Papert as I read further along in the book. I found the dialogue back and forth interesting. The PDF files are about Papert and his Logo philosophy            logophilosophy.pdf          Mindstorms.pdf

Forum: The sequel

Date: 10-24-2005 18:40

Author: Fincher, Bridgette 

Subject Papert, Pluralism and a GRIPE!




Over the last week or so, I have found myself becoming more and more prickly by what I have read in the book, articles and by some of the conversation in the last TI. I know that a great deal that rings true in the reads. The whole idea of bricolage and learning needing a real emotional component and exploration for it to Josh stated in his post. For me it was a real Venus/Mars kind of moment in the gender pluralism article when I read "Men see a hierarchy of autonomous positions. Women see a web of interconnections among people. Men can be with the computer, content that it leaves them alone, even isolated, within a larger organization. When women see computers demanding separation from others, they perceive the machines as dangerous."  I would conjecture that there are as many men who are "mathphobic" and disenfranchised by what they perceive the computer doing and visa versa with woman loving the isolation so being a bit leery to make such overt generalizations, the fact that there were multiple viewpoints being identified by Papert via Gilligan was an eye-opener. He seems to be VERY assured about his position.  My irritation steps from the fact that, as far as my limited exposure thus far has been, that he strikes the same key...Lego, Lego, Lego. Lego has a lot going for it, even I in my funk, freely give the Lego its due. (;.>) Yet, he says, "Computers should serve children as instruments to work with and to think with, as a means to carry out projects and as a source of concepts to think of new ideas." If conceptually, his computing philosophy encompasses so much and is so well thought out, why does the execution of the philosophy seem to encompass such a in small amount, not in power...medium? What about the other options out there that offer children the same kind of exploration? Has Papert addressed this and I am just being clueless to the fact that he has? Or am I just being "soft" ?


Forum: The sequel

Date: 10-25-2005 09:20

Author: Escamilla, Rebecca <>

Subject Re: Papert, Pluralism and a GRIPE!




Oh Bridgette --thank you thank you thank you. I feel the same way. Really, one might get the impression that there was no fun engaging learning going on pre-Logo. Seymore must have missed out on working with lentils, corn, peas and construction paper. Now that's constructionism. Further, I seem to be missing the part where Logo teaches mathematics--well one might learn about angles -- but maybe not. Logo is great for Seymore, but is it great for everyone. The book seems to me to be a collection of anecdotal evidence supporting Papert's feelings on learning. Have I missed his inductive argument? Does he have one?



Forum: The sequel

Date: 10-27-2005 00:03

Author: Stager, Gary S <>

Subject Re: Papert, Pluralism and a GRIPE!




Papert writes extensively about learning with gears as a child in Mindstorms and in The Connected Families he talks about learning through baking, flowers, movies and countless other experiences. Or maybe I'm incorrect? Can any of you identify other examples of learning Papert discusses? Don't the examples generalize to other contexts? Feel free to add examples of constructionism to our discussion. If he created a laundry list of learning examples, who would be interested? Should it be surprising that the Father of Educational Computing likes computers or that you are reading his work in a degree in educational technology?





Forum: The sequel

Date: 10-25-2005 15:36

Author: Swank, Micheal <>

Subject Re: Papert, Pluralism and a GRIPE!




Well I agree with the sort of sexist assertiveness of Papert's statements as a person who does not fall into his neat categories. I also played with dolls as a child and was teased constantly. Take that Papert!

"Computers should serve children as instruments to work with and to think with, as a means to carry out projects and as a source of concepts to think of new ideas."

I understand the confusion here but I think he is relating this statement in the context of his own experience. Considering his relationship to Logo and his place in the field of education again in relation to Logo. What else can one expect? Context is very important here because it allows me to see his ideas in a larger picture of my own practice. That is where the value is in examining his work for me.



Forum: The sequel

Date: 10-25-2005 18:38

Author: Fincher, Bridgette <>

Subject Maybe it is the Why Not the How that is Important




Thanks for the bouncing of ideas on this one, guys. For me, Lego-centric view of world continues to bother me. I did appreciate that Papert acknowledged the fact that he had very different world views than Suppes (CAI) and Kemeny (BASIC) and discussed his divergence of thought from those two. Seems like there is a real difference stems from field that computers are used rather than the gender of the people using them. Perhaps it is choice of field that reflect the users different styles for usage. Regardless of gender, “hard” users embraced computers first because the first applications were mathematically based.  As more applications and technology advances were developed more styles could be encompassed. (One could argue the chicken and eggness of the last statement.) Regardless, teachers are drawn towards the communication aspect of computers because of the mesh with their world view. Which, synthesizes the core of my gripe, my world view about how to use a computer as a communication tool is as valid as others who use the computer for programming. Math is no better or worse than Language as a way to structure, communicate and interact with the world around us. There is difference but there is parity as well. Computing, and learning itself, is a big enough frontier to support multiple viewpoints. At least, one would hope.  


Forum: The sequel

Date: 11-05-2005 00:06

Author: Fallon, Julia <>

Subject Re: Maybe it is the Why Not the How that is Important




I want to throw this into the conversation because I struggle with it on a daily basis when looking at (high school) IT courses and programs and how to increase the enrollment of girls...

Many people from different walks of life (race, color, national origin, sex or handicap, etc.) USE computers every day, all over the world. But who is responsible for WRITING the software they use? Men, and mostly white men (blatant stereotyping; the industry is widening but it's still mostly men).

What would software and/or computing devices look like if the IT industry was as diverse as the user population? In pondering that question, I want to believe that it could be related to our quest to help ALL learners learn using technology.




Forum: The sequel

Date: 11-05-2005 11:07

Author: Stager, Gary S <>

Subject Re: Maybe it is the Why Not the How that is Important




You should read Brenda Laurel's work.

"The Computer As Theatre" is a good place to start.


Forum: The sequel

Date: 11-08-2005 08:02

Author: Benedict, Cheri <>

Subject Re: Maybe it is the Why Not the How that is Important




I assisted a former Physics professor who as addressing the aversion to physics among middle school girls.  For three years, I conducted a "Physics for Girls" program and then followed up to see how many of these young women enrolled in physics courses in high school.  There was a significant difference in high school enrollment between the girls who had participated in my program and those that had not.   I wonder if this holds true of IT courses?  

I had not really given it much thought until I read TCM  but there was a difference in the experiments the girls performed and the way they approached the materials.    



Forum: The sequel

Date: 10-27-2005 00:06

Author: Stager, Gary S <>

Subject Re: Papert, Pluralism and a GRIPE!




That's an interesting observation, Michael.

Papert is explicit about the need to share learning stories and to develop a theory of learning by understanding your own internal processes.



Date: Tue, 01 Nov 2005 17:31:12 -0600
Subject: Papert, Pluralism and a Gripe....The Next to Last Stop!


Hi there, Gary…

First of all, thanks for the questioning in regards to my posts about Lego-centrism. You gave me some pause and rather than posting to the whole crew, I thought I would just go ahead and round back to you specifically…as if you don’t have enough to do ;.> Regarding Papart’s use flowers, baking et al as examples of knowledge construction, why most assuredly he did. (Gently put on your part!) I think I need to clarify my use of the word medium…what I was referring to was a computer medium. I should have been more transparent in my wordage. I think the ramble that I did in the following post clarifying the Language and Math usages stated where I was heading with that. BTW, wasn’t concerned about the male/female issue..that came from Mike but more of an issue of the fluidity between the two styles. Thanks for the hints about Turkle and Gilligan. I will probe deeper into their work. I do have follow up questions, however. Has Papart come out in support of another computer program that he thinks has some characteristics which mirror the learning and capacities for exploration that Logo has? Are there other programs that have come along afterwards that intrigue him the same way or that he is playing with? It would be cool to know what they were.

Thanks for the time..I know that you are a busy guy as of late!











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