04 Session

posted Mar 3, 2013, 4:26 AM by John Henry Thompson   [ updated May 4, 2013, 8:44 AM ]

Readings in Preparation for Session 4 (Mar 4): Powerful Ideas

* Alan Kay (1995): Powerful Ideas Need Love Too! [Note: Open in a new tab or window to view the whole document]

* Seymour Papert (2000): What’s The Big Idea? Toward a Pedagogy of Idea Power

* Mitchel Resnick & Brian Silverman (2005): Some Reflections on Designing Construction Kits for Kids. Interaction Design and Children conference.


Papert described powerful ideas as general (applicable across domains), intelligible (easy to grasp), and personal (rooted in experience). Share an example of a powerful idea from your own experience. What people, materials, or environments supported your learning experience? How might you help others understand and appreciate this powerful idea?


Create a project with TurtleArt, and reflect on any “powerful ideas” you engaged with in the process. (For more background, see TurtleArt paper below.)

Additional Resources:

* Paula Bonta, Artemis Papert, & Brian Silverman (2010). Turtle, Art, TurtleArt. Constructionism 2010 conference.
Art themes with TurtleArt

* Arvind Gupta (2010). Turning trash into toys for learning (TED talk). See also free books and videos from Arvind Gupta.

Alan Kay:
In order to be completely enfranchised in the 21st century, it will be very important for children to get fluent in the three central forms of thinking that are now in use: "stories," "logical arguments," and "systems dynamics." The question is "how?" (Hard Fun, persisting in face of failure, failure as lesson )
"children are willing to go to any lengths to learn very difficult things and endure almost an endless succession of "failures" in the process if they have a sense that the activity is an integral part of their culture." -  "rite of passage" motivation.
"create an embedded environment and support classroom teachers with visiting experts"
children start off loving to learn, and most can learn anything the culture throws at them. But they are best at learning ideas that seem to be an integral part of the surrounding culture
aim at being idea based, not media based

Powerful idea: My dad saying "You can accomplish anything you set your mind to with the right education." and me believing it.