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June 14, 2010

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Colin Jagoe
    Jun 15 2010

    Thanks for that story. Amazing that you got to spend some time with SP. Although, I’m really not surprised. Explains a lot actually. 🙂

    • Jun 15 2010

      Thx Colin. I have, over the years, been so lucky. Some say I have a horseshoe strategically placed. Other say it’s because I’m Irish.

      However, as I said, I just didn’t get enough time with Seymour Papert. @garystager , as you may know, has spent a great deal of time working and discussing with Papert on many projects.

      One of my most exciting moments was when Papert invited me to visit his graduate class at the Media Lab. At that time, they had just developed the ‘programmable brick’ – a Lego brick that had self-contained batteries and computer – which you could build into whatever. They had several turtles running around the floor – with different coloured lights on top. Each was programmed to respond differently to each colour. The discussion revolved around the cultural differences among peoples – some allowing others to get close. Others keeping their distance.

      Cool times.

      Did you ever get involved with Lego Logo stuff? I bought about 50 Lego Logo kits for North York schools back in the 80s. MicroWorlds EX Robotics continues to this day to interact with Lego Mindstorms.

      I am glad that people like @garystager make the effort to educate us all about the work of this great pioneer. The lessons to be learned are still very current today.

  2. Barbara McLaughlin
    Jun 16 2010

    Thanks Peter for the background on a pioneer who was at the apex of our burgeoning educational world. When I was researching for my MEd (technology in maths) in the Dark Ages (2005!), literature of any kind, and especially in new areas of study such as edtech , was not as readily available on-line as it is now. One of the few people I consistently found was Seymour Papert, and his research writings were very much a foundation of my thesis.

    I never used Logo, or the “Lego my Logo” brick, but I am sure that Mr. Papert would chuckle at our solemnly calling problem solving, critical thinking and real world application 21st Century skills!


    • pskillen
      Jun 16 2010

      Hi Barbara,

      Ask @brendasherry about the time she discovered Seymour Papert’s work and how she told me about it! It was SOOOO funny!

      Yes, the “21st century skills” would probably not sit well with Seymour Papert.

      If Seymour were able, we could invite him to what one of our twitter friends said to me in a DM: “perhaps we could do a folks who were doing ’21st century’ stuff in the 80’s” tweetup!

      Thx you.

  3. Joelle Rudick
    Jun 16 2010

    RT27 = Right Turn, 27 degrees…
    I grew up on Logo Writer and the blinking green turtle on the black screen in my elementary school computer lab. It was my first introduction to angles and I still remember how incredibly cool it was when we learned the “repeat” command that basically converted the turtle into an electronic spirograph. Those were the days!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    – Joelle

    P.S. Our Social Studies curriculum has our students looking at pioneers and other historical eras… I am eagerly awaiting the integration of computation history into the curriculum. I think that kids would love it. Anyone want to collaborate? RT me. (i.e. Reply To and not ReTweet or Right Turn!)

    • pskillen
      Jun 16 2010

      Hey Joelle,

      LogoWriter was actually my favourite Logo. Seymour wasn’t as fussy about it because of all the materials that came with it. He thought it was a little too much like an SRA lab! LOL

      I was using it in the days when I was teaching grade two. There is a story or two in here that might make you smile:

      And, I would love to speak with you about the computation history curriculum.

      AND, are you coming to ECOO.


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