How computer technology can transform science education for children.
Can computers really extend our intelligence? Might new "computational literacies" alter the face of education, expanding and accelerating learning possibilities? Research scholar, teacher and technologist DiSessa thinks so, and posits a future in which computers "will have penetration and depth of influence comparable to what we have already experienced in coming to achieve a mass, text-based literacy." But why should ordinary people learn about not just the function, but the structure of these new tools? DiSessa answers this question through many compelling narratives of how students actually explore sophisticated science and mathematics topics with the "Boxer" software system, a product that DiSessa and his research colleagues have developed to further their research on cognition and learning. Their findings reinforce many of our commonsense understandings about optimal education: that students learn best by doing; that tacit, intuitive knowledge is important to the acquisition of concepts; and that learning needs to be carefully tailored to an individual's domain of competence. DiSessa also concretely illustrates how to lead students toward complex technical competence and become active creators, not just passive consumers, of new technologies. While a good deal of his book is geared toward scientifically and mathematically literate readers, the personal narratives make it accessible to anyone interested in how computers may change not just the way we learn, but the way we think. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|