[Etoys] some comments

Alan Kay alan.kay at squeakland.org
Thu Aug 30 20:31:59 EDT 2007

But what we need is "the enlightenment that we hope for". Otherwise 
we are essentially giving cave people nuclear weapons and beyond.

"Engagement" is important for learning anything, but it also has no 
particular effect on enlightenment (cf programmers again -- huge 
percentages of them are certainly highly engaged -- and so are lots 
of gamers, etc.).

One of my favorite critics -- Neil Postman -- pointed out that it is 
essentially not possible for schooling to compete with television in 
areas of attraction, ease of use and intrinsic motivation. Real 
education requires "hard fun", much of which is learning to deal with 
ideas and forms that are not well prepared for in normal human 
brain/minds -- for example, seemingly dull forms which require 
developed skills in imagination as opposed to medai that tells and 
shows people visualizations. The whole point is to get human brains 
to be better, to supply amplifiers, but not prosthetics (the healthy 
organs then wither).

This is why powerful ideas are rare.

The underlying principles here are quite invisible to most people, 
though a fair amount has been unearthed in the 20th century.



At 04:55 PM 8/30/2007, Tony Forster wrote:
>Thanks Alan for an insightful view on "gaining enlightenment" through game
>Exposure to a complex thinking environment does not of itself lead to deep
>thinking or enlightenment. You mention "Zen and the Art of Archery" , a
>http://scil.stanford.edu/about/staff/bios/PDF/Cog_Effects_Prog where Pea
>quite successfully argues, I think, that the case for Logo had been used
>many times before in other domains:  "This belief, although new in its
>application to this domain, is an old idea in a new costume which has been
>worn often before. In its common extreme form, it is based on an assumption
>about learning - that spontaneous experience with a powerful symbolic system
>will have beneficial cognitive consequences, especially for higher order
>cognitive skills. Similar arguments have been offered in centuries past for
>mathematics, logic, writing systems, and Latin"
>What this analysis overlooks is engagement. The levels of achievement are
>quite astounding for kids who are offered a relevant and authentic challenge
>and the right tools. Then the "powerful symbolic system" does have
>"beneficial cognitive consequences" . Maybe not the enlightenment that we
>would hope for but at least an understanding of mathematics, logic,
>kinematics, also social skills, affective benefits "I like school" and
>metacognitive or self regulatory benefits.
>I think it essential that etoys is at least as motivating as Game Maker and
>at least as easy at the entry level. I think there is a lot to learn from
>teachers like Bill who have a long track record of successfully using such
>tools and getting exceptional results from them.
>Etoys mailing list
>Etoys at lists.laptop.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.squeakland.org/pipermail/etoys-dev/attachments/20070830/61b3708f/attachment.html

More information about the etoys-dev mailing list