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What on Earth Happened to the Computer Revolution in Education?:
A Conversation with Professor Seymour Papert

Tuesday, July 9, 2002

Session One: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM EST
tv icon Looking Back: From the AI Lab of the '60s to the Logo Lab of the '70s

Session Two: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST
tv icon A Laptop for Every Student

Bartos Theatre, MIT Media Lab (E15)

David Cavallo, Future of Learning group

"Media Culture" is growing at a rapid pace, but will not emerge in its fullness as long as our school children are educated in schools where the dominant medium is paper and pencil. The state of Maine has adopted a new program through which each year, every student in the seventh grade is provided with a connected, portable computer that will stay with the student through high school. Professor Seymour Papert and Research Scientist David Cavallo, who head the Lab's Future of Learning research group, hosted morning and afternoon sessions exploring the meaning of this decision, how it came about, and the deeper implications of digital presence for learning on a planetary scale.

Seymour Papert is a mathematician and one of the early pioneers of artificial intelligence. In addition, he is internationally recognized as the seminal thinker regarding computers and pedagogy for children. A mathematician by training, his collaboration with Jean Piaget at the University of Geneva led him to consider using mathematics in the service of understanding how children can learn and think.

Papert was born and educated in South Africa, where he was an active participant in the anti-apartheid movement. In the early 1960's, Papert came to MIT, where, with Marvin Minsky, he founded the Artificial Intelligence Lab and co-authored their seminal work Perceptrons (1970). He is also the author of Mindstorms: Children Computers and Powerful Ideas (1980), and The Children's Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer (1992). He has written numerous articles about mathematics, artificial intelligence, education, learning, and thinking. Dr. Papert's latest book is The Connected Family: Bridging the Digital Generation Gap (1996).

David Cavallo co-directs the Media Lab's Future of Learning group, focusing on the design and implementation of reforms in learning environments and educational systems, on the role that technology can play in this process, and on the design of new technologies for learning. Prior to joining the research staff at the Media Lab, Cavallo led the design and implementation of medical informatics at Harvard University Health Services, and was a principal and consulting software engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation's Artificial Intelligence Technology Center. Cavallo has designed and built numerous knowledge-based systems for industry, most notably a set of intelligent microworlds for training air traffic controllers. He founded and led the Advanced Technology group for Digital's Latin American and Caribbean region. He has advised numerous heads of state and ministries of education on the adoption of advanced technologies for learning and the reform of educational institutions. Cavallo received his MS and PhD from the Program in Media Arts and Sciences at MIT, and a BS in computer science from Rutgers University.

Contact Jacqueline Karaaslanian,

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