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Re: [xmca] Direct Instruction: observations at Djarragun college, Cape York, Australia

On 10 May 2012 10:02, Bill Kerr <billkerr@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Thu, May 10, 2012 at 8:26 AM, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com
> >wrote:
> > As I understand it view points research (Papert, Kay and others) are or
> > were involved in ways to scale teaching approaches (presumably
> > constructionist teaching approaches).
> >
> > Yes and that has continued with the one laptop per child project (OLPC)
> as
> well. But Alan Kay has pointed out
> (a) most teachers don't understand the ideas behind logo (or etoys) deeply
> enough
> *Q: What have you found to be the greatest obstacle in your work?*
> A: I think the most difficult part is helping the helpers. Logo was a great
> idea and it failed. It didn't fail because computers couldn't do Logo, and
> it didn't fail because Logo software was bad. It failed because the second
> and third waves of teachers were not interested in it as a new thing, and
> virtually none of them understood anything about mathematics or science.
> It's very hard to teach Logo well if you don't know math. ...
> http://www.squeakland.org/resources/articles/article.jsp?id=1004
In the history of attempted pedagogic ideas I think it had a good many
successes.  If it was a real failure we wouldn't know about it.  There are
plenty of ecological circumstances to explore too with respect to the
survival or regeneration of these projects, such as Mike's ruminations in
Cultural Psychology.

Seymour Papert drew attention to these systemic issues in "The Children's
Machine": the isolation of computing in schools as a means to prevent the
curriculum's remediation.  The book is a mature revision of his original

> (b)  no one has yet developed a computer user interface that  could teach
> children to read in their native language

It's an interesting thought experiment, but why is it necessary?

In terms of a constructionist frame, reading would be something that one
does as part of a personally desired activity.  Reading about how, what, or
why for instance.  Having an online computer facilitates that.


It is considerations such as these that has caused me to look beyond the
> OLPC to a method that would work with the most disadvantaged group in
> Australia.

Personally I wouldn't go anywhere near uptake without addressing question 1
below.  Q2 is more of an aside.

1.  What kinds of communication and development can take place?  What else
is being communicated?  Is it really to their advantage?

2.  How much of DI is an effort to realise a particular temperamental
(semiotically derived) preference (and therefore blindness)?  The
wishfulness of "direct" seems quite strong and there are plenty of traps
that Zig looked like he was flirting with in the video I watched.

Thanks for the good posts, Bill.  I hope this is an additive.

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