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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EIGHT STARS -- A Breakthrough in Natural Learning, 26 May 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas (Paperback)
This is the best book I have ever read on how to assist people to learn for themselves. Papert began his work by collaborating with Jean Piaget, and then applied those perspectives in a self-programming language designed to help children learn math and physics.
Papert explains Piaget's work and provides case studies of how the programming language, LOGO, can help. He provides a wonderful contrasting explanation of the weaknesses of how math and physics are usually taught in schools.
I learned quite a few things from this that I did not know before. People are very good at developing theories about why things work the way they do. I knew that these theories are almost always wrong. What I did not realize is that if you give the person a way to test their theory, the person will keep devising new theories until they hit on one that works. What is usually missing in education is the means to allow that testing to occur.
An especially imaginative part of this book were the discussions of how to create theory testing solutions that are much simpler and easier to apply than any school problem you ever saw in these subjects. Papert works from a very fundamental and deep understanding of math and physics to reach the heart of the most useful thought processes for applying these subjects. It is thrilling to read about what you have known for many years, and to suddenly see it in a totally different and improved perspective.
Another benefit I got from this book were plenty of ideas for how to help my teenage daughter with her math. She is very verbal, and Papert points out that math seldom teaches a vocabulary for talking about math. As a result, she memorizes a lot and gets dissociated from the subject. I got a lot of ideas for how to encourage her to personalize the concepts and problems by moving her own body. From that I realized that I often solve the same kinds of problems by recalling physical situations I have been in. But I have failed to help her make that connection because I was unaware of it on a conscious level.
If you want to improve as a learner, help others learn better and faster, or simply want to understand more about different ways to think, this is a great book. I hope that all teachers get a chance to read and apply it.
Enjoy learning more!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true classic, 26 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas (Paperback)
It would be hard to find a better book than this. While Prof. Papert discusses the language Logo, which he invented, the book is about much more than a computer language. It is about how children (and adults as well) learn and about revolutionary ideas about teaching and the power of thinking. He discusses many real-life children he worked with, some with learning problems. He opens your mind to the proper use of computers in the education system. For example, if you wanted your child to really learn French, you couldn't do better than allow him to live in France for a while; similarly, if you want your child to learn math, why not let him live in 'Mathland' - an environment created in a computer where math can be explored in a fun way and yet must be learned in order to explore and prosper. Papert explains this and many more powerful ideas. This is a must read book for anyone interested in the learning process.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Important Book, 26 Sep 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas (Paperback)
This is one of the best books ever written. Not because it so well-written; on point of style it is good but not exceptional. What makes this book so important are the powerful ideas it deals with: meta-ideas, thinking about thinking. While other books (on religion, philosophy, psychology and computation) have dealt with such, few have done it as successfully or straightforwardly as Papert, and insanely few have done it via the topic of education. No more pertinent a topic exists, and it is because of this (not in spite of it) that the book is accessible.
Straightfoward is the key word. Papert tells it like it is. This book is one of the last products of an age where thinkers empowered the economy (rather than the other way around) -- the golden age of Bell Labs and the MIT LISPers, whose fruits carried the world through 2 decades of incredible economic developement, but whose ideals have been ignored.
The reader could dismiss the critic's Randian gripe, if he had anything else to read; this book is out of print.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To little too late, but a fine effort, 26 April 2010
By 
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This review is from: Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas (Paperback)
This book is about the need to have children programming computers, not computers programming children.

It is a failure, because it was written in the 1980s, and now computers train children, and children almost never learn to program computers.

Everybody should read this, parents particularly, and teachers more than parents.

This book describes the Logo programming environment as it was in the 1980s. Computing has moved on, and there isn't much of Logo left these days.

Computer programming to a deep level could never have been easy, but I'm not sure whether it has become more difficult than it absolutely needed to be.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for teaching human learning, but weak for application, 13 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas (Paperback)
As other reviewers have pointed out, papert does a nice job of going through how humans learn and setting up the case that the current education system does not fit our learning process very well. However, this book does little to give teachers specific on how to properly use the computer in the classroom. LOGO, while a useful tool for learning, does not translate well to a classroom setting or for teaching the necessary curriculum.
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Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas
Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas by Seymour Papert (Paperback - 14 July 1993)
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