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5 June 2004 / erikduval

Interaction Design and Children Conference

The Washinton Post runs a transcript of a conversation with Alan Kay, Marvin Minsky, Seymour Papert and Allison Druin . The text could have been edited better, so that it would at least be clear who is saying what…

Some interesting quotes:

– “I hate the phrase “teacher training” — you train tigers in circusses not teachers or children … are we “training” the teachers to “train the children” ????? ” – Seymour Papert.

“In 90% of cases kids don’t engage because they work is boring. Chikldren today are less likely to do things just because someone said DO IT! This is a great mnifestation of democratic society. BUT that doesn’t mean they should do nothing or “whatever they like” — it means we have to give them work to do that they see as meanuingful. I ask you to look over the math curriculum and ask yourselkf how often you — or anyone — actually does those things!!! If you give kids meaningful math AND A CONTEXRT TO USE IT .. they love it. (Context? eg building robots that really work, making theuir own computer games, simulating the lobster ecology)”Seymour Papert.

I completely agree with that statement. Just yesterday, I talked to three last year students who have developed a SMIL player for their thesis work. They were rather sad that their project might end there: as some 150 pages of text on what they did, a piece of software (that actually works!) and some mention on their diplomas. Just imagine you would work on something for most of a year, then someone would look at it, say “OK. Fine. That is quite a decent piece of work.” and throw it all away… And then we say that the students have an attitude problem and do not seem to be motivated!?

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One Comment

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  1. A mom / Jun 26 2004 10:19 pm

    It is not enough to work it has to motivate/engage. Did the project consider the users first?

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