Papert’s Predictions

The process of changing the system  through technology is a very actual topic, not only in the education field.

As Papert says in his speech  “Perestroika and Epistemological Politics” this is a kind of revolution so radical  that we can definitely call it  megachange.

It’s not so difficult to imagine how the work and the life of most of us is changed compared to a 1916’s person. It’s impossible to unrecognize the role that technology plays, as vector, in this megachange. The wake of scientific and technological progress in so many fileds leds us today to have computers so little that can be placed on an hand, no limits in comunications and an huge constellation of new cultural and social technology-related constructs that are shared almost wordwide.

On the other hand it’s very difficult to predict how much everything can change in the next 100 years, moreover in the educational field and in  the structure of knowledge itself.

It was 1991 when Papert predict what will be  the role of computer in the educational field:

“The computer is not an agent that will determine the direction of change. It is a medium through which different forces for change can express themselves with special clarify.”

After 25 years we can truly see how much close Papert goes with his prediction….soo many forces plays a role in this technological revolution.

The production system is letting us become more and more passive in the relationship with technology. Most of our beloved “digital natives” doesn’t know what’s inside their smartphones , tablet and videogame consoles…. even worst, they are unable to use creatively all the media than they have available. Lot of schools and teachers choose to use technology as a new tool to teach in the old way or, even worst, are teaching new things in the old way.

Maker movement and maker education has played an anti-hierarchical role in the last years, spreading the value of making on your own, working on projects you care about and sharing with your community. Taking the learning outside of schools to makerspaces and,  as we are seeing more and more right now, taking the makerspaces and fablabs  inside schools too.

So, despite the lack of consciousness and understanding about how technology works children have, right know more than ever, many chance to experiment, play, learn and create with technology. Everywhere in the word there are some revolutionary teachers that are trying to change the old paradigm of education and most of them are using technology as an ally, a tool that can help to offer a better learning environment.

Even if everything can look fine, there can be some dark hierarchical clouds on the way, as companies understands how maker-market can be profitable they will try to control it, it will not be “make your own” anymore but “produce your product with our product”. Even into a school maker space or fablab a teacher can choose to teach in the old way, and use 3D printers, laser cutters and all the other tools to instruct their kids instead of letting them construct their own knowledge.

I’m not sure if this game of forces will end up at some point, I’m truly wondering if the real nature on the “human-beeing system” is to be constantly balancing between different kind of forces.

What I know is that, right now more than ever, we can choose to use technology as an instrument to be creative with.

We can choose to help teacher construct their own sense of meaningfulness about technology.

We can offer our pupils a learning environment rich in contents and meaningfull, where they can express themselves and learn how to construct their own knowledge.

Everyone can play a role in this mega changing process, let’s choose wisely!!!


Perestroika and Epistemological politics Seymour Papert

Start Making afterword Mitchell Resnick