Mitchel Resnick
Né en ?
  1. But even as the influence of decentralized ideas grows, there is a deepseated resistance to such ideas. At some deep level, people seem to have strong attachments to centralized ways of thinking. When people see patterns il the world (like a flock of birds), they often assume that there is some type of centralized control (a leader of the flock). According to this way of thinking, a pattern can exist only if someone (or something) creates and orchestrates the pattern. Everything must have cause, an ultimate controlling factor. The continuing resistance to evolutionary theories is an example : many people still insist that someone or something must have explicitly designed the complex, orderly structures that we call Life.
    (Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams, p.7, MIT Press, 1994)
  2. This growing interest in « emergent » phenomena has been accompanied by confusion and controversy, since different people use the term emergent in different ways. Many popular descriptions of emergence (and even some scientific ones) are tinged with mysticism, as if something magical is going on. But no magic is needed. As I am using the term, emergence is fully consistent with most traditional scientific idea - including Newtonian physics. The point is not that Newtonian models are wrong. It is that Newtonian models are inappropriate for trying to make sense of certain types of phenomena. New types of models are needed, operating at a different « level » from Newtonian models, focusing on the behaviors of systems, not the actions of individuals.
    (Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams, p.13, MIT Press, 1994)
  3. « The idea of special center in the brain is the most tenacious bad idea bedeviling our attempts to think about consciousness, » writes [Daniel] Dennett.
    (Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams, p.17, MIT Press, 1994)
  4. Equal access to computation, argue Turkle and Papert, requires an « epistemological pluralism » - and acceptance of the validity of multiple ways of knowing and thinking.
    (Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams, p.19, MIT Press, 1994)
  5. This idea of learning through design is on aspect of what Seymour Papert has called the constructionist approach of learning and education. Constructionism involves two types of construction. First, il asserts that learning is an active process, in which people actively construct knowledge from their experiences in the world. (This idea is based on the constructivist theories of Jean Piaget.) To this, constructionism adds the idea that people construct new knowledge with particular effectiveness when they are engaged in constructing products that are personnally meaningful. They might be constructing sand castles, LEGO machines, or computer programs. What's important is that they are actively engaged in creating something that is meaningful to themselves or to others around them.
    (Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams, p.23, MIT Press, 1994)
  6. In many hands-on activities in school classrooms, students simply follow a list of instructions (« pour the liquid in test tube A into test tube B... »). Students are told what to do, and they do it. Their hands are on, but their heads are out.
    The constructionist approach goes beyond hands-on in a variety of ways. In constructionist activities, students do not simply manipulate physical objects, they construct personally meaningful products. It is easy to see how « constructing » is better than merely « manipulating » : children are sure to learn more by builing and programming their own robots rather than manipulating store-bought, fully assembled robots. But there is a deeper point here. Children are likely to become intellectually engaged only if they are constructing personally meaningful things. When students design and construct products that are meaningful to themselves (or to others around them), they tend to approach their work with a sense of caring and interest that is missing in most school activities. In doing so, students are more likely to explore, and to make deep « connections » with, the mathematical and scientific concepts that underlie the activities. Building and programming a merry-go-round is based on the same underlying principles as building and programming a classic robot - but for a child who cares more about merry-go-rounds than robots, the merry-go-round project offers a much richer learning experience.

    (Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams, p.28, MIT Press, 1994)
  7. When programs are bases on objects, programs often become easier for non-experts to relate to and think about. Telling a turtle to take 50 steps forward has a very different « feel » from telling the computer to draw a line between the Cartesian coordinates (23, 57) and (71, -14). Students can relate to the turtle, even imagine themselves as the turtle. In the words of Seymour Papert, the turtle becomes an « object to think with. »
    (Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams, p.43, MIT Press, 1994)
  8. There is an old saying that goes something like this : If a person has only a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail. Indeed, a person's perceptions and models of the world are strongly shaped by the objects that exist in the world. The same is true for computational systems. The way people interact with (and think about) a computational system depends strongly on the objects that compose the system. If the objects are well chosen for the intended task, even novices will use the system productively. If the objects are not well chosen, even experts will struggle.
    (Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams, p.44, MIT Press, 1994)
  9. [...] I am more interested in stimulation than in simulation. My work with StarLogo is aimed more at what's in here (in the mind) than what's out there (in the world). The goal is not to simulate particular systems and processes in the world. The goal is to probe, challenge, and disrupt the way people think about systems and processes in general.
    (Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams, p.49, MIT Press, 1994)
  10. When I worked with high-school students, I played several (simultaneous and intertwined) roles :
    Observer. I observed how the students thought about decentralized systems, and how their thinking evolved during their interactions with StarLogo.
    Catalyst. I proposed experiments, asked questions, challenged assumptions, and encouraged students to reflect on their experiences as they worked with StarLogo.
    Collaborator. I helped students write their StarLogo programs, since I ws not particularly interested in studying how well students learned to program in StarLogo. More important, I worked together with students in trying to make sense of unfamiliar phenomena. Often, working with students helped clarify my own thinking about decentralized systems.

    (Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams, p.50, MIT Press, 1994)
  11. The great baseball manager Casey Stengel once said, « If you don't know where you're going, you might end up somewhere else. » My experiences with computer-based explorations have taught me a corollary : « Even if you think you know where you're going, you'll probably end up somewhere else. »
    (Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams, p.88, MIT Press, 1994)