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(I wrote this essay as the Foreword to the new edition of Seymour Papert’s classic book Mindstorms.)

In re-reading Mindstorms today, 40 years after its publication, I had two conflicting reactions.

On one hand, so many of Seymour’s ideas that were seen as radical in 1980 are now part of the education mainstream.

On the other hand, so many of Seymour’s dreams remain unrealized and unfulfilled.

How is it that Seymour’s ideas can be so aligned with today’s realities but still so disconnected from them?

To make sense of this seeming contradiction, it’s helpful to transport yourself back to 1980, when Mindstorms was published. The first personal computers had been developed just a few years earlier. No one had mobile phones or tablets or even laptops. The Web didn’t exist, and few people had heard of the Internet. So it was truly radical to predict, as Seymour did then, that millions and millions of children around the world would soon be interacting with digital technologies every day, as they do now. …


This recoding and text were prepared by Mitchel Resnick for a course on Digital Citizenship and Literacy, organized in Uruguay.

Will digital technologies lead to a more equitable society — or will they worsen the inequities in today’s society? It all depends on how we use the technologies.

Unfortunately, many school systems are introducing digital technologies in ways that reinforce traditional educational approaches — and reinforce traditional inequities. Too often, school use new technologies to deliver instruction to the student, or deliver information to the students. …


This video was prepared for a MIT Media Lab member meeting in June 2020.

The past few months have been very unsettling and upsetting. The COVID pandemic has killed hundreds of thousands of people, and disrupted the lives of billions of people around the world, with the greatest hardships falling inequitably on those already facing challenges in their lives. Here in the United States, the horrific murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others have highlighted the inequities, injustices, and systemic racism confronting Black people throughout their lives. …


This video and text come from a Scratch project that I created for the Scratch Virtual Graduation in June 2020.

I want to congratulate all of the Scratchers who are graduating this year, in 2020.

Our research group at MIT started working on Scratch in 2002, around the same time when many of you were born. So, in many ways, Scratch has grown up with you — and because of you!

All of us on the Scratch Team are incredibly grateful for all of the ways that you’ve contributed to Scratch over the years, with your creative projects, caring comments, and collaborative remixes. …


This essay was originally published in Design.blog in August 2016

When discussing technologies to support learning and education, my mentor Seymour Papert (who, sadly, passed away last month) often emphasized the importance of “low floors” and “high ceilings.” For a technology to be effective, he said, it should provide easy ways for novices to get started (low floor) but also ways for them to work on increasingly sophisticated projects over time (high ceiling). With his Logo programming language, for example, kids could start by drawing simple squares and triangles, but gradually create more complex geometric patterns over time.

But the most important lesson that I learned from Seymour isn’t captured in the low-floor/high-ceiling metaphor. We need to add an extra dimension: wide walls. It’s not enough to provide a single path from low floor to high ceiling; we need to provide wide walls so that kids can explore multiple pathways from floor to ceiling. …


The coronavirus crisis highlights the growing need for creativity in today’s society. We need the creativity of public-health professionals to develop strategies for limiting the spread of the virus. We need the creativity of doctors and scientists to develop a vaccine. We need the creativity of educators and parents to provide learning opportunities for children while schools are closed.

Situations like the coronavirus pandemic will be rare. But the need to deal with unexpected challenges is becoming more and more common. It is becoming the new normal. In today’s fast-changing world, people are confronted with a never-ending stream of unknown, unexpected, and unpredictable situations. …


[In honor of the start of the new school year, I’m posting this excerpt from my book Lifelong Kindergarten.]

There’s a common misconception that the best way to encourage children’s creativity is simply to get out of the way and let them be creative. Although it’s certainly true that children are naturally curious and inquisitive, they need support to develop their creative capacities and reach their full creative potential.

Supporting children’s development is always a balancing act: how much structure, how much freedom; when to step in, when to step back; when to show, when to tell, when to ask, when to listen. …


Update: Sept 7, 2019. Today, Joi Ito resigned as Director of the MIT Media Lab. But we must continue to focus on changing the policies, practices, and culture that allowed MIT and the Media Lab to associate with someone like Epstein.

In this post, I will be focusing on one specific aspect of Jeffrey Epstein’s association with the MIT Media Lab. I feel somewhat uneasy focusing on just one specific aspect, since there are so many other big issues, challenges, and concerns. I feel sick when I think about Epstein’s crimes and their terrible impact on so many lives. I am disturbed that such an individual was able to get involved with MIT, and I want to see changes to the policies and practices that allowed it to happen. …


More and more children around the world are programming stories, games, and animations with Scratch. Last year, more than 20 million children created Scratch projects. With the recent launch of Scratch 3.0, our new generation of Scratch, even more children are creating and sharing with Scratch — and, in the process, developing their abilities to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.

As Scratch has grown, we’ve been steadily expanding the Scratch Team — the group of people who design, develop, and manage the Scratch programming language, online community, learning resources, outreach initiatives, and educational research. …


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I recently visited the Sydney Opera House, to discuss ways that we might collaborate on their new Creative Learning Centre, set to open in 2021. While there, I participated in a workshop with a group of K-12 educators, coordinated by Frank Newman, the Creative Learning Specialist for the Opera House.

About

Mitchel Resnick

Professor of Learning Research at MIT Media Lab, director of Lifelong Kindergarten research group, and founder of the Scratch project (http://scratch.mit.edu)

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