I found Papert to be very interesting. I think this is so because of my math background and I believe that much of what he is saying is true. I believe the Papert is saying that we can use computers to help students learn math and gain confidence in that subject area. Although Papert has a love for math himself, I think that another reason why he is constantly referring to math is due to the higher number of students who fear math and feel as if they are “bad” at math. By using this example, he is giving evidence of how the use of computers in education can help students learn math and increase their confidence in math classrooms. He is pretty much saying that math is one of the most difficult subjects for students, so if computers can help educate students in math, they conquered one of the hardest tasks, so they can virtually be used to educate students about anything. One of the lines that sticks out to me says, “The children can see perfectly well that the teacher does not like math any more than they do and that the reason for doing it is sim- ply that it has been inscribed into the curriculum” (p. 50). I believe this is an issue in our education system. There are many elementary (I am referring to this because of the fact that many elementary teachers teach all subjects) teachers who fear math themselves and do not like it. This can very easily be transferred to the students in the classroom and hinder their potential math skills. This is why I believe that there should be designated elementary math teachers, much like secondary education. I believe that Papert brings up a good point when he is talking about his research in the Maine Youth Center. He talks about these students seem to be unsuccessful students, but once this idea of project-based learning is incorporated, these students thrive. This is something that I want to incorporate in my classroom. I think that project-based learning is one of the best ways for students to learn, especially those who do not perform “well” in a traditional classroom setting. I also believe that project-based learning allows students to see the relevance in the content and engages them in the material more.

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Gerald ArditoJohnny,

I enjoyed reading your response.

I wonder if you could elaborate on which of Papert's ideas resonated with him and how you might specifically put them into practice in your classroom.

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Johnny ChapetonHi Dr. Ardito,

One of Papert's ideas that I liked was his statement that we should take another look at how much time and effort is put into teaching students certain arithmetic operations (p. 51). This is something that I will implement into my own classroom. Similar to Papert, I believe that this arithmetic and other math tasks that can be done on a calculator are important and students should know how to perform these tasks, but due to the tools out there, it is not as necessary to spend a lot of time of these tasks. For example, I believe that students should know how to sketch graphs of functions, but with the wide and increasing use of graphing calculators, I do not think it is necessary to spend as much time focusing on sketching graphs of functions when students can simply do so on their calculators.

Johnny

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Tabitha ColonHi Johnny,

That is awesome that you are able to read Papert, and be able to understand where he is coming from! I somewhat understood, but another part of me found it difficult to understand. I am an English concentration and a mathaphobe, so it was a bit difficult. Overall, I think that students should be taught the original way to find an answer and learn the strategy. If still there are difficulties, then the teacher should teach the student another way, eventually the student gets it, I then think you can bring in the technology. I just don't think it is right to put a computer in front of a student right away, students should gradually work their way up. Or, the computer can be another source to practice, like leap frog!

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Johnny ChapetonHi Tabitha,

I don't think that putting a computer in front of a student and trying to teach them is the best way either. However, I think that a computer can be a beneficial tool if a teacher uses it correctly. A computer is just a tool, it is the way that the teacher implements it that can make a difference.

Johnny