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Paperback | $23.00 Trade | £15.95 | ISBN: 9780262541329 | 293 pp. | 6 x 9 in | August 2001

Changing Minds

Computers, Learning, and Literacy


Andrea diSessa's career as a scholar, technologist, and teacher has been driven by one important question: can education—in particular, science education—be transformed by the computer so that children can learn more, learn more easily at an earlier age, and learn with pleasure and commitment? This book is diSessa's informed and passionate affirmative answer to that question.

While written at a level that anyone with a good acquaintance with high school science can understand, the book reflects the depth and breadth of the issues surrounding technology in education. Rejecting the simplistic notion that the computer is merely a tool for more efficient instruction, diSessa shows how computers can be the basis for a new literacy that will change how people think and learn. He discusses the learning theory that explains why computers can be such powerful catalysts for change in education, in particular, how intuitive knowledge is the platform on which students build scientific understanding. He also discusses the material and social reasons for the computer's potential and argues for "two-way literacies," where everyone is a creator as well as consumer of dynamic and interactive expressive forms. DiSessa gives many examples from his work using the Boxer computer environment, an integrated software system designed to investigate computational literacies.

About the Author

Andrea diSessa is Chancellor’s Professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, and a member of the National Academy of Education. He is the coauthor of Turtle Geometry: The Computer as a Medium for Exploring Mathematics (MIT Press, 1981).


“A remarkable book. Part educational philosophy, part scholarly memoir, part cultural manifesto, it weaves these elements together beautifully in a single captivating narrative. This is one of the best modern books on education that I have read.”
Michael Eisenberg, University of Colorado

“Wonderfully thought-provoking and mind-expanding. I've waited a long time for a book like this. Changing Minds certainly changed my mind about how best to proceed with computers, learning, and literacy and even changed my mind about what literacy is.”
John Seely Brown, Chief Scientist, Xerox, and author of The Social Life of Information