Seymour Papert. (2005). You Can’t Think About Thinking Without Thinking About Thinking About Something. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 5(3), 366–367.

At the very end of his career, Seymour Papert briefly discusses the challenges of LOGO’s adoption in secondary schools. The central point is reflected in the title: people are confused about exactly what LOGO is for, and what it’s supposed to do. He claims, e.g. in another article “Teaching Children Thinking,” that the purpose of these materials is to develop general critical thinking skills. People don’t understand the relationship of the programming and the robotics to these claims. The central notion is that those topics are a medium through which analytical thinking can be explored.

Q. Papert’s title “You Can’t Think About Thinking Without Thinking About Thinking About Something” is meant to address what confusion about his work?
A. The role of robotics and programming.

Q. Papert’s uncomfortable with others’ fixation on the robotics or programming elements of his work; what is their true role relative to his purpose?
A. They’re a medium through which the child can explore analytical and logical thinking practices.

You can’t teach children “logical thinking” in a vacuum, in an abstract sense; in the same way, you can’t make “tools for thought” in an abstract sense. You have to make a tool for thinking about something in particular; likewise, you have to understand logical thinking about something in particular.

Last updated 2023-07-13.