2013/07/18

The Children's Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer, 1993


[p98]
...
In a computer-rich world, computer languages that simutaneusly provide a means of control over the computer and offer new and powerful descriptive languages for thingking will undoubtedly be carried into the general culture. They will have a particular effect on our langugae for describing ourselves and our learning. To some extent this has already occured.
...
We shall give an example of this process by showing how programming concepts can be used as a conceptual framework for learning a particular physicall skill, namely, juggling. Thus, we look at programming as a source of descriptive devices, that is to say as a means of strengthening language.

 Many scientific and mathematical advances have served a similar linguistic function by giving us words and concepts to describe what had previoulsy seemed too amorphous for systematic thought.
...
[p99, p100]
... The child, we recall, was explicitly looking for a way to describe the process of walking in a circle.
...

 The field of education research has not worked in the direction of developing such formalisms. But another research community, that of computer scientists, has had (for its own reasons) to work on the problem of descriptive languages and has thereby become an unexpected resource for educational innovation. ...
...
[p100]
One might even say that computer science is wrongly so called: Most of it is not the science of computers, but the science of descriptions and descriptive languages. Some of the descriptive formalisms produced by computer science are exactly what are needed to get a handle on the process of learning a phisical skill. ...
...
Seymour Papert, "Mindstorms", the 2nd ed. 1993, Chapter 4 - Languages for Computers and People