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A Parable

A Parable

My colleague, friend, and mentor Seymour Papert used to teach through parables. Here is my lame attempt at maintaining that tradition. No need to thank me. You are quite welcome! Everyone in the kingdom of Isteeville goes about their lives with a happy-go-lucky attitude and nary a care in the world. Everything is fine.  In Isteeville, there are good schools and terrible ones,... [Read more]

THIS is Why Schools Exist

THIS is Why Schools Exist

There are a lot of discussions underway about what school will or should look like when face-to-face sessions resume. Sadly, the images of teachers barking commands from meters away at children in cells bolted to the floor six feet apart are as pedagogically toxic as they are medically perilous. Ann Wang/Reuters – Lovingly borrowed from https://nationalpost.com/opinion/post-covid-19-classrooms-what-if-keeping-your-distance-becomes-the-new-school-normal It... [Read more]

Books & Stuff that Soothe and Inspire Wonder

Books & Stuff that Soothe and Inspire Wonder

There’s no shortage of articles, web sites, top 1,000 app lists instructing educators what to do during the pandemic and when school returns to “normal.” All of that “help” may be counter-productive. You deserve a break. If you’re not feeling up to reading, cooking, playing an instrument, or coding right now, watch an episode of Encore! on Disney+ and you will be... [Read more]

This is Our Moment!

This is Our Moment!

I hope that anyone reading this is healthy and sane during this period of uncertainty. Teachers and kids alike are grieving over the loss of freedom, social interactions, and normalcy. Many families, even those never before considered at-risk, are terrified of the potential for financial ruin or catastrophic health risks. Since I’m all about the love and spreading optimism, I humbly share a silver-lining... [Read more]

Let COVID-19 Kill the Pencil

Let COVID-19 Kill the Pencil

Today’s horrific health and economic crisis might have at least one educational benefit, students are “working” from home and like everywhere else in the past two generations, communication is largely via computer generated text, not manual handwriting. Whenever I visit a school, I scan the environment, observe social interactions, and look for learning artifacts. Even while strolling around... [Read more]

Scratch and the Negligent Homicide of Mathland

Scratch and the Negligent Homicide of Mathland

Scratch is a miracle. It’s popularity as a creative computing environment and its ubiquity around the world are truly impressive. Millions of children use the environment and have shared tens of millions of projects for others to enjoy and remix. Scratch is a descendent of the Logo programming language. Logo was the first, and I would argue best, programming environment ever designed for children... [Read more]

Robotics – The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Peace?

Robotics – The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Peace?

Checking-in on teachers working on a robotics project during an Invent To Learn workshop A reporter for an Australian education magazine recently sent interview questions about robotics in education, including the obligatory question about AI. The final article, when it runs, only grabs a few of my statements mixed in amongst the thoughts of others. So, here is the interview in its entirety. Of late,... [Read more]

Vivian Paley, a Legacy of Learning Stories (1929-2019)

Vivian Paley, a Legacy of Learning Stories (1929-2019)

The world lost a giant of an educator on July 26th when Vivian Paley passed away at age 90. Paley was the only kindergarten teacher ever named a MacArthur genius. Her example as an educator, documented in her numerous moving and inspirational books, gave voice to young teachers. Her poignant shared self-reflection tackled poverty, racism, gender, power, peace, community, rejection, literacy, democracy,... [Read more]

When Books Kill a Love of Reading

When Books Kill a Love of Reading

I’m a big fan of children’s book illustrator/author, Dav Pikley. So, when I came across a beginning reader by him called, “Big Dog and Little Dog,” I bought it for my three year-old grandson. The grandkids should love it. The book is complex with a great deal of subtext. Big Dog and Little Dog want food. Here is some food for Big Dog. Big Dog is happy. Here is some food for... [Read more]

Lessons from My Latest Family Workshop

Lessons from My Latest Family Workshop

Leading family learning-by-making workshops in schools around the world is a pure joy. When parents can experience through the eyes, hands, and screens of their children what is possible, they demand a new more progressive educational diet from their school. I have now led three different family workshops at my favorite school in the world. The first one featured a wide range of materials, including:... [Read more]

Great Honor and a New Book

Great Honor and a New Book

Marvin Minsky & Gary Stager One great joy of my life has been getting to know and work with so many of my heroes/sheroes. Even greater satisfaction comes from sharing those people with my fellow educators, via books, presentations, and the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. Over dinner thirty years ago, one of my mentors, Dan Watt dropped some wisdom on me when... [Read more]

The Subtlety of Prompt Setting

The Subtlety of Prompt Setting

Invent to Learn In Chapter Four of our new book, Invent to Learn – Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, we discuss the importance of prompt setting as a basis for project-based learning. I argue that “a good prompt is worth 1,000 words.” Projects are not the occasional dessert you get as a reward after consuming a semester’s worth of asparagus,... [Read more]

Perhaps My Favorite Keynote Ever

Perhaps My Favorite Keynote Ever

In August 2018, I delivered the opening keynote address at the Constructionism Conference in Vilnius, Lithuania. When invited to speak at the conference nearly eighteen months earlier, I felt pressured to share the topic of my address quickly. Since I do some of my best work as a wiseass, I offered the title, “Making Constructionism Great Again.” Over the ensuing months, my tongue-in-cheek... [Read more]

It’s a Book!

It’s a Book!

I’m thrilled to announce that our publishing company, Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, has released a new and expanded second edition of our book, Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. The new book is available in softcover, hardcover, and Kindle editions. Co-author Sylvia Martinez and CMK Press Art Director Yvonne Martinez put the finishing touches on the... [Read more]

Podcast discussion: Does Everyone Need to Code?

Podcast discussion: Does Everyone Need to Code?

For decades, I have marveled at the vehemence with which seemingly reasonable adults defend not teaching kids to program computers. Aside from the typical (and often dubious) justifications popularized by politicians, Hour of Code, and the Computer Science for All community, I know how learning to program in the 7th grade was an intellectual awakening that has served me well for more than four decades. So,... [Read more]

When a Young Newspaper Reporter Asks Questions, Why not Turn it into a Blog Post?

When a Young Newspaper Reporter Asks Questions, Why not Turn it into a Blog Post?

I recently received interview questions by a cub reporter in the heartland. Paradoxically, the nature of the questions made answering a challenge. Here’s my attempt. How would you define STEM education? Quite literally, STEM is an acronym meaning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. To the extent that there is anything new to be found in STEM, it is a recognition that the nature... [Read more]

Professional Development Gets Personal

Professional Development Gets Personal

Hello World is a free, glossy, well-edited magazine for educators published by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Gary Stager has written two featured articles in the first four issues of the publication. His latest article, Professional Development Gets Personal, shares lessons learned over a decade of Constructing Modern Knowledge. Download the complete issue   Read Gary’s PD Article   Download... [Read more]

CMK 2018 is Back for an 11th Year!

CMK 2018 is Back for an 11th Year!

We are excited to announce that the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute will be returning for an 11th year, July 10-13, 2018. Discount early-bird registration is now open! Constructing Modern Knowledge 2018 Guest SpeakersReggio Children President Carla Rinaldi • TV’s Paul DiMeo • Author/Historian James Loewen • MIT Professor Joseph Paradiso • Inventor Eric Rosenbaum Sylvia... [Read more]

A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal

The irony could cause whiplash. Over the past thirty years, the EdTech community expended sufficient energy to colonize Mars fighting the idea of teaching children to program computers. I cannot think of another single example in education where so much effort was invested in arguing against children learning something, especially ways of knowing and thinking so germane to navigating their world. Now,... [Read more]

Caution: Chromebooks

Caution: Chromebooks

I am often asked about the adoption of Chromebooks and have spent months agonizing how to respond. This article offers food for thought to teachers, administrators, school board members, and policy makers who might find themself swept up in Chromebook mania. What should a student computer do? In addition to being portable, reliable, lightweight, affordable, and with a good battery life, a student... [Read more]

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