Read Mindstorms. No, really. I insist. Step away from ed-tech until you've done so. ReadMindstorms, then come back and let's talk. (Amazon Affiliate link)
I met the book's author, Seymour Papert, last week when I was in Maine and had the opportunity to thank him for the most important (or at least, my most favorite) ed-tech book, for Logo, and for all his work. It's been profoundly influential on my own.
There's a line in a 2011 Wired Magazine article about Khan Academy where Bill Gates calls constructionism "bullshit." It's a line that's stuck with me because it makes me so damn dangry, no doubt, but also because it highlights Gates' dismissal of established learning theories, his ego, his ignorance.
And it highlights too, I think, the huge gulf between those like
Gates who have a vision of computers as simply efficient content delivery and assessment systems and those like Seymour who have a vision of computers as powerful and discovery learning machines. The former does things to children; the latter empowers them to do things -- to do things in the world, not just within a pre-defined curriculum.
That's probably the thing I'll remember most about my visit with Seymour: we laughed a lot. We laughed about this ed-tech time warp we're stuck in, where a book written in 1980 remains so relevant and so radical when it comes to computers and learning.