Monday, January 20, 2014

Seymour Papert, a Roman Temple and EdTech today!

In 2009, I lived a childhood dream by visiting the Roman temple of Jupiter in Baalbek, Lebanon. The temple was built by many generations of Roman engineers, artisans and slaves. The stones used could not be found in that valley location, so the Romans brought them by sea, used elephants and slaves to drag them up a mountain and then down to the right location. There, they would be carved and set in place. The grandeur of the pillars and the intricate work still visible today spoke of the glory that the Romans wanted the place to have. I remember thinking that we had the technology to execute such grand projects in a much shorter time. It was the ambition we lacked.
Some time later, I came across this video by Seymour Papert . In it, Papert shows the use of the Logo programming language to control a "turtle" either on the screen or on a physical surface. By manipulating the turtle, students can create shapes, animations or music that are personally meaningful. While doing this, they use mathematical concepts and discover some of their own maths.