#Scratch2017BDX The 4 Ps of Seymour Papert: Projects, Passion, Peers, Play

At the 10th International Scratch Conference, Professor Mitchel Resnick explained the philosophy of MIT's Lifelong Kindergarten group.

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At the 10e international Scratch conference, held in Bordeaux (), Professor Mitchel Resnick explained what underlies the group's philosophy Lifelong Kindergarten at MIT.

From July 18 to 21, the tenth Scratch international conference, in Bordeaux, France. This event brought together 40 hours of lectures and non-lectures inspired by ideas and technologies from MIT's Lifelong Kindergarten, organized in conjunction with the Scratch Foundation team.

In 2017, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Scratch programming learning application. This year also marks 50 years since the invention of Scratch's “predecessor”, the Logo language, created at MIT under the influence of Professor Seymour Papert. The latter was a world-renowned educator and computer scientist. He is recognized for his reflections on the impact of informatics in education. He is also one of the pioneers of artificial intelligence. He passed away at the end of July 2016.

The conferences this year aimed in particular to pay tribute to him. We can also see them again on Youtube.


The Seeds that Seymour Sowed, or Seymour's seeds

One of the presentations was made by Mitchel resnick, professor of research on learning and director of the Lifelong Kindergarten at the MIT Media Lab in Boston.

He explained in particular the 4 P : Projects, Passion, Peers, Play - projects, passion, learn from each other and play. These ideas, advocated by Seymour Papert, remain the foundations of the educational approach of the Lifelong Kindergarten group. Here is a brief overview.


It is a kind of reverse pedagogy. Very often, in education, we start by explaining a concept to the student and then make him apply it. However, according to Mr. Papert, it is by doing that the student learns. An educational project must therefore, according to this philosophy, be a creative work, a process by which the pupil must seek information which allows him to complete his project. In our classes, what we call a project often only corresponds to documentary research or to problems to be solved.


Learning has more to do with the heart than with reason, according to Papert. Here is a classic human quote to that effect:

Education has little to do with explanation
It has to do with engagement

What he is expressing here, Mr. Resnick recalls, is that in order to learn, the person must be in love with his subject of study, must apply himself to working on something that touches him. In programming, for example, some will want to create games, others to imagine stories or create music. Education should not be a One fits all, but on the contrary knowing how to cover the wide range of learners' interests.


This is the social aspect of Scratch. Students learn from each other and the Scratch community reaches millions of people around the world. Scratch is software open source, and users can participate in the development of Scratch 3.0.


Playing is perhaps the least understood aspect of the pedagogy advocated by Seymour Papert. To play, in his mind, is not to take part in a game, but to have a playful approach, to be playful, to play with ideas, to experiment. It is this attitude of exploration that he proposes to encourage.


Seymour Papert's thought is not a rigid and outdated pedagogy. His ideas, which were valid 20 years ago, are still valid today. Those who follow it reform, adapt and add to it. This is how Mitchel Resnick proposes a fifth P, Purpose, that is to say, a goal, an objective, a reason for being. And his proposal is to instill in the individual the desire to be a productive citizen within society.


On the road to Scratch 3.0

The next generation of Scratch software will give the budding programmer plenty of possible routes. There he will find new programming blocks available in his workspace.

Also, this new version will be accessible on mobile devices. Indeed, in many corners of the world, few people have computers. However, many have cell phones and tablets. This is why we put the emphasis on the mobile application in the development of Scratch 3.0.


Sonic Pi: learn programming through music

During the Bordeaux conference, we also heard Samuel Aaron, from Computer Laboratory from the University of Cambridge, which presented Sonic pi, a tool he developed in collaboration with the Rapsberry Pi Foundation.

Sonic Pi is a live music synthesizer accessible to everyone. It is intended as a new way of approaching the learning of programming, by learning to compose and perform musical works in an incredible range of styles, from classical to jazz to EDM. (Electronic dance music).

Sonic Pi is free for the Raspberry Pi computer, Mac OS, Windows, and Linux. This musical instrument was developed specifically for use in classrooms.

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To find out more, read the article by Marcel Desvergne, International Scratch, Robotics and Education Conference, on Educavox.

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About the Author

Ninon Louise Lepage
Ninon Louise LePage is a pedagogue and museologist who recently came out of premature retirement to be reborn as an educational designation. She has taught at the Université du Québec à Montréal and the Université de Sherbrooke in science education, in addition to working at the Canadian Heritage Information Network as a museology consultant. She also writes for our French friends at Ludomag. She also invites all interested to contact her so that she can talk about you, your students, your school and your particular experiences in digital and computer education.

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