Whatever you do...
FOOLED BY... products claiming to be educational.
They too often are unimaginative, and they trivialize learning. Theyre
designed to teach isolated facts or skills to disinterested children
and don't seize the power and flexibility of the computer to increase
learning opportunities. I agree with Seymour
Papert: "Most educational software powerfully reinforces the
poorest sides of pre-computer education while losing the opportunity
to powerfully strengthen the best sides."
BOTHERED BY... less imaginative colleagues.
They will distract you from spending your energy in positive ways in
the service of your students.
AVOID... the exhibit hall. Educational computing
will fail to be little more than a fledgling market until we get over
the notion that our time, resources, and intellectual capital are best
spent finding new things to buy. Conferences should challenge us to
think in radically different ways, even if we reject these notions when
we return home. We should spend our time at conferences sharing ideas,
challenging each other, debating policy and exploring our own learning
as a way to rethink the nature of learning and teaching in the digital
age. There are not enough serious debates, extended discussions or collaborative
workshops in which educators can learn in the fashion we value for our
ORGANIZERS SHOULD... endeavor to create an
environment in which practitioners of all levels, experts, and theoreticians
can debate, share and create powerful ideas.
EASIER BY... using one piece of software for
productivity and one for exploration, experimentation and self-expression.
Software should not be expected to teach anything. Less is more. Software
du jour is the last refuge of scoundrels. Teachers can always hide behind
the excuse that their computer is not new enough or that they are waiting
for Print Shop 2003. (I eagerly anticipate Impeachment Blaster '99.)
Learners need an integrated software
for getting work done and an open-ended constructionist learning environment
in which they can mess about with powerful ideas and express themselves
in new and multitudinous ways. Of course, special purpose software for
things like MIDI composition, physics experiments, or data collection
may be added to the arsenal as necessary. Communication software and Web
browsers are free. In fact, most Web authoring and media creation can
be accomplished with shareware and freeware.
COMPUTER IS... a constructive medium with
unprecedented opportunities for kids to learn in new ways, learn new
subjects, and contribute to the exploding universe of knowledge in personally
And while youre at it...
WAY TO... seize the teachable moment.
WAY NOT TO... teach to the test.
the need for standards, more testing, and
YOURSELF... that teachers are employed to
benefit children...and that technology coordinators and network managers
are there to support teachers in realizing the dreams they have for
AFRAID... to trust the kids and to take risks.
that computers have had an enormous impact
on most aspects of society. Schools are not immune.
your eye on "someday" in order to
inform what you will do on Monday (Thanks again, to Seymour Papert.)
SURPRISED WHEN... kids surprise you with their
intelligence, ingenuity, and creativity.