Thinking About Seymour Papert’s Mindstorms

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On Thursday January 26, 2017, the MIT Media Lab hosted an event to honor the life and work of scientist, mathematician, inventor, philosopher & life-long learner Seymour Papert.

A large crowd of people who love and appreciate all things Seymour gathered to celebrate his vision and to share memories of the years spent learning and growing collaboratively with him.

His dynamic mind, curious nature, endless thirst for knowledge and deep humanitarian spirit were qualities palpable in each of the stories shared by close friends and relatives.

For nearly seven hours people from all corners of the world, representing diverse fields of study and creative pathways took the stage to shine a mighty spotlight on Papert and the profound impact he had and continues to have across the globe.

Seymour’s world-wide learning community faced an immense loss following his death in the summer of 2016.  The stories shared about his work, his life, his eccentricities, his love of learning, his activism and his never-ending hope for a more perfect education system have inspired me to think about the strength of his vision and how ” deeply in touch he was with his own learning story and all of its emotional complexity”. (Sherry Turkle)

In the words of his close friends and family, “Papert lived to empower others to learn.”

Powered by wonder and the sheer force of his own enthusiasm for learning, he sparked the curiosity of everyone who crossed paths with him.  He believed in the unique abilities of each individual learner and worked hard to create support systems and tools to amplify the intrinsic greatness in all children, all learners regardless of where they began their paths toward knowledge.

I never had a chance to meet Seymour but I feel connected to his powerful ideas in a way that empowers me to keep working on my own life-long commitment to learning.  Through Learning Creative Learning workshops & the Clubhouse community, I have come to understand many elements of what fueled Papert’s education philosophy.  And the more I spend time with his ideas, the more I discover new insights and seeds to cultivate in my own personal learning garden.

As part of #MyDiyMFA project I’ve created a little multiwriting Scratch Gears (Audio Gallery) to share idea segments & layers of Seymour’s vision that have had an impact on my thinking, learning and creative self-expression.

The audio in this piece is derived from a couple of video interviews found online (see links below) and it is edited & remixed in sound clips arranged as gears that work together to help express in a new composition, a few reflections following this inspiring MIT Media Lab celebration.

The piece featured below is part of a larger series of multiwriting compositions made to explore Seymour’s work using many of the learning & creative expression pathways he found interesting and engaging: poetry, riddles, storytelling, art, computer programming & mathematics.

Seymour’s work and all the memories shared by the people who knew him best have been a true inspiration.  As a learner taking the road less traveled and taking creative chances to unearth my own unique learning path, I feel less alone in the world knowing that Papert spent his whole life believing in the power of personalized learning, leading by example and inspiring thinkers to create new tools to open up diverse pathways to knowledge.

This work we are collectively doing (alone-together?) to honor Seymour’s memory and legacy is indeed beautiful and powerful beyond measure.

Thank you to all the people who spoke on stage at the Media Lab, all of the people reading this message and all of the people who (daily) continue to grow this incredible vision Seymour laid the foundation for all those years ago.

Here is a little Scratch #ObjectToThinkWith and to remember him by.

I hope you enjoy it!
papert-scratch-screenshot

@Rockshelfstudio

Audio remixed from the following video interviews:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uV_lvl4_bE&t=991s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhEovwWiniY&t=7s

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