Education & technology: key issues and debates

Assessment 1 – Mindstorms (2017)

Details of task

The first portfolio assignment takes the form of a ‘supported’ essay in which students investigate some of the central arguments underpinning the field of educational technology. The focus for the 2017 portfolio is the work of Seymour Papert.

The essay is ‘supported’ in the sense that students are expected to base their answers on Papert’s seminal 1980 book Mindstorms. No additional readings/references are required for Part I and are optional for Part II.

Part I

Firstly, write a 400-word synopsis for five chapters of your choice from Mindstorms (5 x 400 words = 2000 words). Each synopsis should briefly explain the main questions that are addressed and arguments that are developed in each chapter. For this purposes of this exercise, the ‘Introduction’ and ‘Epilogue’ of the book can be treated as chapters if you so choose.

Part II 

Secondly, using what you have read in the whole of Mindstorms, write a 2000 word essay-style answer on the following question: According to Papert, how can technology transform teaching and learning?

Word count/equivalent: 4000 words (or equivalent)

  • Each chapter synopsis (part 1) identifies the main questions that the chapter addresses, and highlights the main points of discussion that emerge.
  • Written essay-style answer (part 2) focuses on the topic of teaching and learning. Answers can be general or focus on one specific area of education (e.g. schools, TAFE, universities, work-based training, informal learning).
  • Written essay-style answer (part 2) identifies and discusses key issues and debates surrounding the use of digital technology in teaching – making clear distinctions between the educational use of the technology as: artifacts/devices; activities/practices; contexts of use
  • Written essay-style answer (part 2) makes wider comparisons to current and emerging trends in digital technologies being used in education
  • Written essay-style answer (part 2) moves beyond personal experience and makes links with materials discussed in Mindstorms that relate to debates, theories, models and frameworks for understanding digital technology and education

Chapter-by-chapter explorations of Seymour Papert’s philosophy of education and technology

Turtle Geometry – A Mathematics Made For Learning

In my vision, space-age objects, in the form of small computers, will cross these cultural barriers to enter the private worlds of children everywhere. They will do so not as mere physical objects. This book is about how computers can be carriers of powerful ideas and of the seeds of cultural change, how they can help people form new relationships with knowledge that cut across the traditional lines separating humanities from sciences and knowledge of the self from both of these. (p.4)

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Computers For Children

In my vision, space-age objects, in the form of small computers, will cross these cultural barriers to enter the private worlds of children everywhere. They will do so not as mere physical objects. This book is about how computers can be carriers of powerful ideas and of the seeds of cultural change, how they can help people form new relationships with knowledge that cut across the traditional lines separating humanities from sciences and knowledge of the self from both of these. (p.4)

Read more