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The Firewall in the Mind (Slide 2) What is this talk going to be about?

The most creative people often have an ability to think out of the box. As a contemporary example of such a thinker, Seymour Papert has long held my admiration. At a time when computers were thought of as number crunchers that had to be programmed by mathematicians and engineers, he was having kids program computers to drive little turtles around that traced their movements in recursive patterns. In his book Mindstorms, Papert drew an analogy between the way people were conceiving the use of computers and the first movie-makers whose concept of cinema was to make recordings of stage plays by filming them straight on. It soon became apparent to film-makers that there were forms of expression in cinema that were uniquely inherent to the new medium, and that these allowed much greater scope than what people were accustomed to expecting when they went to see plays. Papert's analogy was directed at educators whose use of computers was rooted in paradigms that did not properly take advantage of the unique capabilities of the new technologies. This talk takes a look then at some of our more recent fixed notions about how computers should be used in language learning, and proposes some revised paradigms more appropriate to ways that computers are coming to be used today.

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Last updated: May 23, 2001 in Hot Metal Pro 6.0