Kate's Blog
News and views about Roamer and educational robotics

Costa Rica: Shangri La?

Costa Rica is amazing.  Not only is this small country a beacon of stability in an otherwise unstable region, not only is it ecologically and geographically diverse, not only does it have an amazing range of primates and other creatures it also has an incredible education system.

Based on the Constructivist principles of Papert, and indeed praised and supported by him, it hasn’t been prey to the vagaries of different political opinion taking it one way and then the other.  About twenty years ago they decided the sort of education that they wanted for their young and they have stuck to that path.  They have put resources hand in hand with training and taken it slowly.  Instead of jumping on the “Computing” bandwagon they looked at the longer term goals and decided that developing the thinking skills (computational thinking) was a much better objective than “coding skills”.  Obviously the students learn to code but this is secondary to the thinking skills that they are developing.  To my mind it is a really enlightened view of education and as a teacher it thrills my heart.  As you will see from my previous post I’m all about thinking skills.  I know I’m not the only teacher to see this as central to my educational philosophy, but it does bear repeating. They don’t talk about educating to satisfy the jobs market they recognise that the better educated their citizens , the wealthier (in all ways) the nation will be.

We were lucky enough to meet one of the prime movers of their education system at the Constructionist Conference in Vilnius and it was great to see the synergies between their aims and Roamer’s philosophy and design.  But if you are a teacher and fed up being pulled between pillar and post by different governments get yourself to Costa Rica.  It sounds like the perfect place to be.  Now just let me check air fares…

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