CCSE Reading Group: Discussing "Epistemological Pluralism and the Revaluation of the Concrete", Turkle & Papert

Published: 25 January 2021

Reading and discussion of "Epistemological Pluralism and the Revaluation of the Concrete" by Turkle & Papert

DATE: 25th January 2021
TIME: 13:00-14:00
LOCATION: Quintin’s Zoom Room

Some thoughts from Sarah:

This paper might seem as if it is framed as being about the reasons that women are reluctant to study STEM subjects, and in once sense it is, but I think that for the purposes of this discussion:

  1. The issues identified are systemic, and require a larger revision of institutions and attitudes than is within the power of this group (though if anyone would like to join me in my mission to smash all patriarchal and capitalist institutions then I am totally ready for that!). Of course, I might be wrong about this: maybe we do have the power to make these changes – I’d be very happy to be proved wrong.
  2. In any case, the issues identified in this paper as making women reluctant to study STEM are not exclusive to gender, but (as the authors recognise) also apply to other issues such as class. As Turkle and Papert note, there is an elitism about the areas valued by “hard” sciences/ patriarchal institutions.
  3. A lot of the really interesting things that the authors talk about with regard to learning, teaching and assessment are interesting in their own right without invoking class or gender – and these are things that we educators can change, if we want.

So, as you read this paper, I’d be interested in your opinions of these questions:

  1. Is Computing Science biased towards “hard” ways of thinking?
  2. Need it be?
  3. How might learning, teaching and assessment be improved if we acknowledge different approaches to learning (e.g. hard and soft) are equally important?

First published: 25 January 2021