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LEARNING - a great source book

Singer, Susan R ssinger at nsf.gov
Fri Mar 17 10:59:51 EST 2000

I'd like to second this recommendation.  I've been to visit Schank's group
and have been quite impressed with the quality of this work.
> -----Original Message-----
> From:	purves at THUBAN.AC.HMC.EDU [SMTP:purves at THUBAN.AC.HMC.EDU]
> Sent:	Thursday, March 16, 2000 7:49 PM
> To:	plant-ed at hgmp.mrc.ac.uk
> Subject:	LEARNING - a great source book
> Sorry to be consuming so much bandwidth this week, but here
> is yet one more topic I want to address: How people learn,
> and how we can help them learn.  I want to recommend a book.
> For the last 17 years, I have been associated on and off
> with Roger C. Schank.  He's one of the founding figures of
> the disciplines of artificial intelligence and cognitive
> science.  For the last decade he's been director of the
> Institute for the Learning Sciences at Northwestern
> University, where he is professor several things.  He
> is also president of a company called Cognitive Arts.
> He's extremely bright and articulate, and he's written a
> string of interesting books.  His ideas have been
> the strongest influences on my teaching.
> I recommend the following book to ALL participants in
> plant-ed.  Its focus is on how machines and people learn,
> and why schooling as we know it doesn't teach people
> effectively.  It's very engagingly written.
>   Schank, Roger C. 1999: Dynamic Memory Revisited.
>   Cambridge University Press.
>   paperback  ISBN 0 521 63398 2
>   hardback   ISBN 0 521 63302 8
> Not to be confused with its predecessor, Dynamic Memory,
> published in 1983.
> Let me quote at some length from the preface to the
> 1999 book:
>   "In the first _Dynamic Memory_ the main points were
>   that learning depends upon expectation failure and the
>   attempt to explain that failure, and that remindings
>   that come from our store of memories are instrumental
>   in helping us create explanations and are therefore
>   critical to learning.  We process new experience in
>   terms of prior experience, and our memories change as
>   a result.  To translate this into a teaching environment,
>   we must set up situations in which students can have
>   their expectations fail and can either be reminded or
>   be instructed about how not to fail next time.  To
>   put it another way, learning takes place if, while one
>   is attempting to do something, something else inhibits
>   the doing and causes one to wonder why what one thought
>   would work, didn't.
>   ... <turning to material since the earlier book> ...
>   "The key idea here is doing. John Dewey and others have
>   noticed that most learning occurs in the context of doing.
>   While I was considering how computers might learn, I came
>   face-to-face with the realization that computers weren't
>   doing much of anything. ...
>   ... For that matter, although children learn by doing all
>   the time in their daily lives, they hardly do it in school
>   at all. ...
>   ... Thus, both for computers and for people, environments
>   would need to be created that allowed them to do something
>   they wanted to do and allowed learning to take place in the
>   context of that doing."
> Do seek it out--you won't be sorry.
> (bill)
> William K. Purves      Vice President/Editorial Director
> The Mona Group LLC                     West Coast Office
> 2817 N. Mountain Avenue              phone: 909.626.4859   
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>               e-mail: purves at monagroup.com
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