While he had been fragile for some time following an accident, his extraordinary influence on teaching and learning, including how he really created the maker movement more than 25 years ago, will continue for many years to come.
Without his wisdom and vision, many educators in the school technology fields, where I spent most of my career, would not have been fortunate enough to pursue exciting and deeply meaningful vocations. Every school, every teacher, every educational technology specialist, and every K-12 technology director can trace their professional activities back to Dr. Papert’s deep understanding of the power of learning with computers and digital devices. The Media Lab remembrance page notes that:
Papert’s career traversed a trio of influential movements: child development, artificial intelligence, and educational technologies. Based on his insights into children’s thinking and learning, Papert recognized that computers could be used not just to deliver information and instruction, but also to empower children to experiment, explore, and express themselves.
After serving at a school for 33 years, more than 25 or them as an educational technology faculty member, I am departing in a few weeks and moving on to new experiences. This year I’ve had plenty of time to think about my service on an edtech faculty team, ruminating on my rich experiences. I’ve helped teachers and students use technology in ways that help them grow into more effective and reflective learners, though in truth, I’ve probably learned far more than I’ve helped others learn.
While I will miss the daily joys and the challenges of 21st Century school life, I expect to continue supporting people — students, parents, family, friends, and anyone else — as they discover more about living and learning in a digital world with social media, apps, the latest devices, and whatever else that appears on the edtech horizon. Of course, I’ll keep blogging right here at MediaTechParenting.net.
So below are 25 observations (lessons learned) that grow out of my 25 years of teaching and learning with educational technology.
1. The curriculum and student learning are at the core of our work. The mission is to figure out how to help teachers learn new skills so they can help students learn more effectively and productively.
2. Collaborating with teachers on new technology projects in their classrooms is essential and best way to help them learn. Communicating with those teachers is paramount.
3. We need administrators to evaluate faculty members regularly, assessing how teachers infuse technology into the curriculum and how these teachers expand their skills over time.