Welcome to my Website Portfolio
"Imagination is more
important than
-Albert Einstein-

Niels Bohr

"Your theory is crazy,
but not it's not crazy
enough to be true."
-Niels Bohr-


"Ignorance more
frequently begets
confidence than does knowledge: it it those
who know little, and
not those who know
much, who are positively
assert that that this or
that problem will never
be solved by science."
-Charles Darwin-

Book Review


Seymour Papert’s Mindstorms is a really interesting book. It presents the reader with several novel ideas about unifying technology and education. Papert employs “mathland” as a tool to teach students mathematics. He likens “mathland” to students who grew up in France learning French. They learn it because it is all around them. Papert’s “mathland” is prefaced by Paiget’s idea of constructionism.  This entails that children build and construct their own models of understanding utilizing prior schemas. The last major idea of the book is the use of LOGO. This is a programming language created to help children learn both programming and mathematics. Papert believes that by exposing children from a young age to programming languages like LOGO to help facilitate their learning, then it will no doubt be second nature to them. This acquired second nature is then used as a platform to tackle new problems, which allows students to explore and be creative with their solutions.

The strength of this book is that is really emphasizes constructionist views. Papert is believer in Piaget’s idea that students construct their own knowledge. Going along with this idea is that learning should be student focused and not lecture oriented. Students should have a chance to explore and make mistakes and then reflect on those mistakes. The LOGO program and computers provide students with an opportunity to do just that.

One weakness I have noticed in the theories presented by the book is the fundamental assumption that computers will create an educational change. Yes technology certainly opens up new venues for exploration but changes in education is predominantly driven by culture. Also computers will not replace teachers. A computer programming cannot provide the same level of interaction and scaffolding that a human being can.  Learning should be focused on students and their rate of progress and not force them to progress at the rate of a computer program. The LOGO program does provide an opportunity for students to progress but doesn’t specify the rate of advancement. This brings up the second major weakness. How are the students going be assessed? The book doesn’t outline a way for students to be assessed and this can be problematic for an instructor.

This book was written in 1980. Its implications still resound to this very day. American students continue to lag behind in math in science in comparison to the rest of the world. A novel approach needs to be taken to improve student’s interest in mathematics and science. Technology seems to be the answer to that. However, since this book was published, a way of implementing a system that utilizes technology effectively has not been found. Computers are just tools and cannot be a substitute for teaching. At the other end of the spectrum, there is lecturing without student interaction. A balance between the two needs to be established according to the themes presented in Mindstorms.

While I may not use LOGO programming in my teaching, the overarching ideas behind the program I will definitely utilized. That is students need to constantly be engaged with material that can be relevant to them. Secondly the student learn better when they explore and add to their own schemas. I would facilitate learning in my classroom by utilizing games to reinforce concepts that I teach. Also I would give assignments where students can make videos, songs, and use technology as a medium to express their knowledge.


Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms children,computers, and powerful ideas. New York: Basic Books, Inc.