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International Symposium
EU Presidency conference
MLE Open House
Panel on efforts in the US
Further discussions

We held the symposium in conjuction
with a conference celebrating Ireland's
hosting of the EU Presidency during
January through June of 2004: "New Futures
for Learning in the Digital Age",
16-18 May 2004

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2004/2005 Symposium co-coordinator:
Carol Strohecker
Senior Research Scientist, Media Lab Europe
Director, Everyday Learning

Contact: Carol Strohecker

Last update

Seymour Papert set the stage for the Symposium through his address to delegates of the EU Presidency conference, "New Futures for Learning in the Digital Age".

He said he may call his book-in-progress, Fiddling While Rome Burns - which is "exactly what the world’s doing about education. We�re all meddling with details, tinkering here and there with a system which is about to collapse." Dr. Papert criticised resistance to change and called for curricula focusing on new knowledge, such as ideas in computation and progress in mathematics.

What makes our century’s science thinking different from any other century are the ideas associated with computation, computers and information science, and the idea that we should give children this powerful thing they care about more than anything else, that they ought not to know what goes on inside it - it blows the mind�

Wild imagination, passion, being close to nature, and believing in magic - that is what we need. I think these are all elements that we need to bring into the otherwise cold version of use of computers called "ICT." I hate that, I really hate that name�

Maybe in small places, less dominated by big bureaucracies, you can make changes happen more easily� It’s in Maine, where I live at the moment and where we�ve been able to take the lead in the United States in bringing about the material basis for bringing a real culture of digital means and digital learning into our schools � that Maine would be the first state to adopt the idea of a computer for every child, although it�s the 40th state in income, is I think very significant. I think from Ireland and maybe what we heard from Estonia � often the smaller place that thinks of itself as a developing country is the one where development can happen. Whereas the countries that think, �We are developed,� are too arrogant to open the door to real change. - Seymour Papert

In her address to the delegates, Carol Strohecker described a project that is demonstrating change for students, teachers, and schools in Ireland.