THE CHILDREN'S MACHINE

RETHINKING SCHOOL IN THE AGE OF THE COMPUTER

The genially unorthodox author of Mindstorms (1983) again makes a stimulating case for computers as a primary route to knowledge, revising and expanding earlier observations in view of disappointing school policies of the past dozen years. Rejecting most schools as ``sluggish and timid'' in assuring access to learning, Papert (Mathematics and Education/MIT) divides the conservative education world into ``Schoolers'' (who acknowledge underlying problems but focus on short-term urgent ones) and ``Yearners'' (who create their own small-scale alternatives) as he considers why technology hasn't revolutionized school learning. Championing computers for offering forms of learning that can be ``quick, immensely compelling, and rewarding,'' Papert contends that Logo (the computer language he conceived) is a superior mode of learning for young children, closer to their informal learning style than traditional classroom approaches and invaluable as a medium for most areas of study. But schools have ignored computers' broad capacities, he finds, isolating these tools from the learning process instead of integrating them into all areas of instruction. Papert offers a steady supply of examples—from his own extensive experience as well as from assorted classrooms—providing evidence of computers as powerful learning allies. He also understands the nature of learning—the importance of the personal element in any classroom exchange; the need to adapt a learning-environment design to its social and cultural milieu; the ``internal censors'' that students bring to required work; and the way that ordered ideas can emerge from an imprecise, undirected process. Even those who resist Papert's belief that the foundation of modern schooling is faulty will agree with his central theme that the ability to learn new skills is the most critical skill of all- -and that computers have a unique, accelerating role to play in developing that ability.

Pub Date: June 16, 1993

ISBN: 0-465-01830-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1993

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

COLUMBINE

Comprehensive, myth-busting examination of the Colorado high-school massacre.

“We remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the Trench Coat Mafia snapping and tearing through their high school hunting down jocks to settle a long-running feud. Almost none of that happened,” writes Cullen, a Denver-based journalist who has spent the past ten years investigating the 1999 attack. In fact, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold conceived of their act not as a targeted school shooting but as an elaborate three-part act of terrorism. First, propane bombs planted in the cafeteria would erupt during lunchtime, indiscriminately slaughtering hundreds of students. The killers, positioned outside the school’s main entrance, would then mow down fleeing survivors. Finally, after the media and rescue workers had arrived, timed bombs in the killers’ cars would explode, wiping out hundreds more. It was only when the bombs in the cafeteria failed to detonate that the killers entered the high school with sawed-off shotguns blazing. Drawing on a wealth of journals, videotapes, police reports and personal interviews, Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community. He portrays Harris as a calculating, egocentric psychopath, someone who labeled his journal “The Book of God” and harbored fantasies of exterminating the entire human race. In contrast, Klebold was a suicidal depressive, prone to fits of rage and extreme self-loathing. Together they forged a combustible and unequal alliance, with Harris channeling Klebold’s frustration and anger into his sadistic plans. The unnerving narrative is too often undermined by the author’s distracting tendency to weave the killers’ expressions into his sentences—for example, “The boys were shooting off their pipe bombs by then, and, man, were those things badass.” Cullen is better at depicting the attack’s aftermath. Poignant sections devoted to the survivors probe the myriad ways that individuals cope with grief and struggle to interpret and make sense of tragedy.

Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-54693-5

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE ABOLITION OF MAN

The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more