Week 3 Response

Considering what we know now, Papert was ahead of his time in realizing the importance of the inclusion of technology in the classroom. In his Foreword to his book, Mindstorms, he knew that computers could serve as instruments flexible enough so that children can each create for themselves (p viii). He was able to understand the concept of gears because it fascinated him. He was amazed that there are people in the world with no understanding of the subject or desire to learn it. Information today is easily attainable. Technology today isnt confined to a desktop or available to only those with money. There are phones who carry specifications unheard of 30 years ago on a personal computer. Papert understood the gap computers could bridge if applied correctly. It isnt meant to simply aid the student. Instead, he envisioned the child telling the program what to do and as a result, acquire a new set of skills.

Papert and his turtle model allowed students to understand a common language restricted to machines and through programming language, accurately execute commands. To be able to do this at the most basic levels boosts confidence and the development of a new skill. Programming isnt as difficult as it may seem to be. Learning code is very similar to learning a new language (p27). In the early stages of early education, some students get exposed to a second language. Learning that new language might come in handy when dealing with a foreign speaker but learning code is a universal language that can accomplish more than just translate. The concept that programming is just for the gifted is quickly fading as common belief (p13). Under the right conditions, any child could eventually become proficient at programming but not everyone assimilates information under the same conditions.

So far, Ive been a proponent of technology in the classroom. I feel that exposing our youth to the latest and greatest technology has to offer is crucial to keep pace in a constantly improving world. Im also aware that there are a lot of other factors that dictate whether this is even possible. Weve covered learning environments, and this is very important to the development of the student just as much as the actual lesson. Learning has to do with so much more than just trying to understand the standard route (p46). Exploring and realizing a path to the right answer hold so much more meaning and is indicative of the teaching style of the teacher.

Questions I would have at this point would be:

  • What do we do with those who require more instructional time?
  • Can we pair kids up to boost the confidence of those who get it right away?
  • What should we do with common core philosophy?

Im not a teacher like some of those taking this course. The extent of my teaching has to do with image interpretation of x-ray equipment. Nothing like what Will Smith tried to sell on Pursuit of Happiness. So far, Ive already incorporated some of his ideas into my presentations. Image interpretation is not that complicated. Like programming, the employee needs to understand what theyre working with. There are several different filters to apply on an image as part of the adjudication process. Ive explained to them there are many ways to perform screening operations. I let them find their way and what filter works best for them rather than tell them what to use. What is important is that we come to the same conclusion being the package is free and clear of explosives or contraband.

I always leave the floor open to questions at any point rather than wait until the end. Ive noticed this creates more of a comfortable learning environment allowing the employees to feel comfortable to ask away any question that would arise. I cover a lot of material, so I include a lot of pictures in my PowerPoint presentation and always dedicate time at the end of the presentation to apply everything covered earlier on the actual machine. I know what it feels like to sit through an hour-long presentation. I use that experience to create a more interactive class that keeps everyone receptive and engaged.

 

References:

Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Computers for Children. New York, NY: Basic Books.

    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito

      Guido,

      You have done an excellent job with this response. I was particularly interested in the questions you raised:

      Questions I would have at this point would be:

      • What do we do with those who require more instructional time?
      • Can we pair kids up to boost the confidence of those who get it right away?
      • What should we do with common core philosophy?

       

      At the core of these questions, for me, is an investigation of status quo of educational systems. This is a conversation we should continue to have.

    Computer Science for Teachers Spring 2018

    Computer Science for Teachers Spring 2018

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