- 1 Project Zero
- 2 Work on Intelligence
- 3 Perkin's Current Work at Project Zero
- 4 Books Authored
- 5 Books Edited
- 6 Personal Comment by David Moursund 2/12/2009
- 7 Author or Authors
- 8 References
- 9 Links to Other IAE Resources
It is easy to see how math and AI fit together. Back in the 1960s, as computer science was beginning to be a relatively large and important discipline, the roots of CS were in math, engineering, philosophy, and business. AI draws heavily from general aspects of CS and math. In more recent times, it also draws heavily from psychology and brain research.
While Perkins was doing his doctoral work, he became one of the founding members of Project Zero at Harvard. Eventually, after he became a faculty member at Harvard, he and Howard Gardner were the co-directors of Project Zero. This collaboration continued for more than 25 years.
Quoting from History of Project Zero:
- Project Zero, a research group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has investigated the development of learning processes in children, adults, and organizations since 1967. Today, Project Zero is building on this research to help create communities of reflective, independent learners; to enhance deep understanding within disciplines; and to promote critical and creative thinking. Project Zero's mission is to understand and enhance learning, thinking, and creativity in the arts, as well as humanistic and scientific disciplines, at the individual and institutional levels.
- The research programs are based on a detailed understanding of human cognitive development and of the process of learning in the arts and other disciplines. They place the learner at the center of the educational process, respecting the different ways in which an individual learns at various stages of life, as well as differences among individuals in the ways they perceive the world and express their ideas.
- Project Zero was founded at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1967 by the philosopher Nelson Goodman to study and improve education in the arts. Goodman believed that arts learning should be studied as a serious cognitive activity, but that "zero" had been firmly established about the field; hence, the project was given its name. For a more detailed history, especially of the last decade, please see, Ten Years at Project Zero: A Report on 1993-2002.
- David Perkins and Howard Gardner served as co-directors of Project Zero from 1972 to July 1, 2000, when Dr. Steve Seidel, an expert on alternative student assessment, was named Director.
Work on Intelligence
Much of Perkin's work is in the area of intelligence (numan and artificial) and how it related to education. His 1992 book Smart Schools: From Training Memories to Educating Minds includes a focus on the idea of people and computers working together (Person-plus) versus people working without the aid of computers (Person-solo). If this idea is not familiar to you see a brief explanation given later in this Wiki Page.
A good starting point in working to improve education is to have a set of goals for education. Here is a simple set of goals developed by Perkins:
- Retention of knowledge (in long term memory, well beyond the time of test taking).
- Understanding of knowledge.
- Active use of knowledge beyond the classroom walls and academia.
This is a short and relatively simple list. It can be applied to any discipline that is taught in schools. And, this set of goals can be examined through the eyes of various theories on intelligence. Remember, Perkins is a close professional colleague of Howard Gardner. Howard gardner is well known for his 8-component theory of multiple intelligences.
Quoting from the article::
- Perkins, David (1991). Mindware and the metacurriculum. New Horizons for Learning. Retrieved 2/11/09: http://www.newhorizons.org/future/Creating_the_Future/crfut_perkins.html.
- One of the most fundamental questions that can be asked about intelligence is: "What is intelligence made of?" That is, what in the human mind and brain leads us to think and act more intelligently? Is intelligence simply a more efficient nervous system? Is it a matter of knowing a lot? Is it being a reflective thinker?
- All these factors and more certainly appear to contribute to day-to-day intelligent behavior. Yet many people are dogged "nativists." That is, they believe that "real" human intelligence is entirely innate. You are born with certain neural equipment, that neural equipment has a certain mental horsepower measured by IQ tests, and this is the horsepower you have to work with for the whole of your life. Many people believe there is no such thing as becoming more intelligent in any fundamental sense. To be sure, anyone can learn a great deal of practical value in accordance with his or her abilities. But getting smarter in a basic sense? No.
- A fundamental challenge to this nativist position has developed in recent years among educators and psychologists. Many are coming to the conclusion that intelligence is, to a substantial degree, learnable. In addition to accumulating knowledge and skills, people can in a fully real and powerful sense become more intelligent.
The nature-nurture theory of human intelligence is now well accepted. Roughly speaking, there seems to be agreement that nature and nurture contribute approximately equally to a person's intelligence. Quoting from the Two Brains are better than One document in this Wiki:
- Research on the general human intelligence factor (g) has led to a nature-and-nurture theory that divides human intelligence into fluid intelligence (the nature component) and crystallized intelligence (the nurture component). McArdle et al. (2002) describes these concepts this way:
- The theory of fluid and crystallized intelligence … proposes that primary abilities are structured into two principal dimensions, namely, fluid (Gf) and crystallized (Gc) intelligence. The first common factor, Gf, represents a measurable outcome of the influence of biological factors on intellectual development (i.e., heredity, injury to the central nervous system), whereas the second common factor, Gc, is considered the main manifestation of influence from education, experience, and acculturation. Gf-Gc theory disputes the notion of a unitary structure, or general intelligence.
- The human brain grows considerably during a person’s childhood, with full maturity being reached in the mid to late 20s for most people. Both Gf and Gc increase during this time. While a person’s level of fluid intelligence tends to peak in the mid to late 20s, growth in crystallized intelligence may continue well into the 50s.
Continuing to quote from the 1991 Perkin's document cited above:
- I suggest a framework that recognizes three basic dimensions to intelligence: the neural dimension, the experiential dimension, and the reflective dimension. Rather than rivals, these three should be considered contrasting causal factors that all contribute substantially to intelligent behavior. Such a formulation dissolves a fruitless debate and sets the stage for asking what education can do to cultivate these three dimensions of intelligence.
Notice that this is a three-component theory of multiple intelligences. Robert Sternberg has also proposed a three-component theory of multiple intelligences.
Perkin's Current Work at Project Zero
The following is from http://www.pz.harvard.edu/PZis40.pdf:
- Learning at Work. Daniel Wilson, David Perkins, Dora Bonnet, Cecilia Miani, Chris Unger For four years researchers at Project Zero worked closely with the leaders and over fifty office managers of a university as they sought to cultivate a culture of learning and understanding through- out their organization. This book shares the story of this project along with the key lessons and practical strategies that helped to enhance understanding, deepen inquiry, strengthen leadership, and improve communication. Organizational leaders, group facilitators, or those interested in applying Project Zero concepts in the workplace will find this book of interest.
- Cultures of Thinking. Ron Ritchhart, David Perkins, Terri Turner. The Cultures of Thinking project at Bialik College (located in Melbourne, Australia) extends the long line of research in the area of thinking dispositions conducted at Project Zero over nearly two decades. This research has shown that the teaching of thinking is more than the d velopment of skills; it must also attend to the nurturing of students’ inclination and motivation to think as well as their awareness of opportunities for using their thinking abilities. This development is not a matter of direct instruction, but rather the ‘enculturation’ of thinking through students’ immersion in a rich school and classroom culture where thinking is highly visible and apparent.
- Learning Innovations Laboratory (LILA). David Perkins, Daniel Wilson, Lia Davis, Betsy Campbell. Founded in 2000 at Project Zero, Learning Innovations Laboratory (LILA) is a collaborative learning communi- ty of organizational leaders and Harvard faculty that shares problems, innovative practices, and research that speaks to the challenges of learning in today’s organizations. LILA creates a confidential environment in which members help one another solve the complex and practical problems related to organizational learning, innovation, and collaboration. Captures Insights: The community harvests key lessons from research and the practical experiences of its members.
Perkins is Senior Co-Director of Project Zero and a member of the Project Zero Steering Committee. He is a teacher in the Project Zero Classroom 2009 July 27-August 1 workshop for classroom teachers. Quoting from the Website http://www.gse.harvard.edu/ppe/k12/programs/pz.html:
- Invigorate Classroom Practice
- Our rapidly changing world presents profound challenges for today’s educators.
- How do you best prepare young people for a future that is hard to imagine?
- How do you create learning experiences that are engaging and exciting for children?
- How do you teach for the kind of deep understanding and thought that allows people to solve complex problems and do work that is both excellent and innovative?
- How do you encourage students to fall in love with learning?
- The Project Zero Classroom is designed to help educators create classrooms, instructional materials, and out-of-school learning environments that address these challenges.
Some of the description in this section is quoted from http://www.gse.harvard.edu/faculty_research/profiles/cv/david_perkins.pdf:
David Perkins' research on creativity resulted in his first book, The Mind's Best Work (Harvard University Press, 1981), a well-received examination of the psychology of creativity.
He is co-author of The Teaching of Thinking, a book reviewing comprehensively the state of the art in that area (Nickerson, R., Perkins, D. N., & Smith, E., 1986. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum).
His Knowledge as Design was published by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. in 1986. This book introduces a framework for making subject matter instruction more accessible and meaningful through an emphasis on reasoning and inventive thinking.
He is co-author of Teaching Thinking: Issues and Approaches, a guide for practitioners (Swartz, R., & Perkins, D. N., 1989. Pacific Grove, CA: Midwest Publications.
He is co-author of Block--Getting Out of Your Own Way: The New Psychology of Counterintentional Behavior in Everyday Life (Lipson, A., & Perkins, D. N, 1990. New York: Lyle Stuart Press).
His Smart Schools: From Training Memories to Educating Minds (The Free Press, 1992) brings together ideas and research from cognitive science and other disciplines to create a new vision of schooling. Quoting from: http://www.shearonforschools.com/smart_schools.htm, two key ideas in this book are:
- "Person-plus" versus "person-solo" intelligence: My ability to understand and contribute is greater if I have access to tools and repositories of information that I have mastered. For example, this web site is, in some ways, part of the "person-plus" intelligence of Dave Shearon. My familiarity with various software programs is part of my intelligence if I have access to those tools. And, when presented with a challenge at work, the staff, vendors, and consultants I work with, and my ability to communicate and interact with those folks can increase my problem-solving capability.
- The Cognitive Economy: Why should students work hard and struggle with problems? It's easier to just remember the stuff until the test, especially if it is low-level "stuff". What payoff should we expect them to see for working much harder to get a deeper, fuller understanding? And, why should teachers ask them to do more. Parents will complain. Principals won't be supportive. And policy makers won't understand. So, just "cover" the material, give "tests" aimed at low-level understanding, assign grades and move on. But, many teachers want to see students learn, and learn well. I believe this, coupled with the fact that value-added assessment analysis of standardized test data really does reward good teaching and learning, may be enough to motivate moves toward a "hot", more demanding cognitive economy.
His The Intelligent Eye: Learning to Think by Looking at Art (The Getty Center for Education in the Arts, 1994), investigates how people can cultivate more thoughtful and insightful ways of looking at art.
He is co-author of The Thinking Classroom: Learning and Teaching in a Culture of Thinking (Tishman, S., Perkins, D. N., & Jay, E., 1995. Needham, MA: Allyn & Bacon).
His Outsmarting IQ: The Emerging Science of Learnable Intelligence (The Free Press, 1995) explores how contemporary efforts to teach better thinking challenge the traditional concept of IQ. See http://authors.simonandschuster.com/David-Perkins/3473 for some excerpts from his book, Outsmarting IQ.
He returned to a book-length statement on creativity with the 2000 Archimedes’ Bathtub: The Art and Logic of Breakthrough Thinking (New York: W. W. Norton), published in paperback as The Eureka Effect.
His ideas about organizational development saw light in King Arthur’s Round Table: How Collaborative Conversations Create Smart Organizations (NY: Wiley, 2002) and in the fLearning at Work book listed below.
Quoting from an interview about King Arthur’s Round Table:
- Q: What is organizational intelligence? What conditions are necessary to foster it?
- A: Organizational intelligence concerns how well people put their heads together in a group, team, organization, or community. Do the people collectively "think smart?" Do good solutions to problems, wise decisions for the long term, productive plans result from the way people interact? On the social and emotional side, do the people cohere in a positive, productive spirit?
- As a generalization, pooling physical effort is easy, but pooling mental effort is hard. It's a lot easier for 10 people to collaborate on mowing a large lawn than for 10 people to collaborate on designing a lawnmower—what King Arthur's Round Table calls the lawnmower paradox. We've all had experiences where the group doesn't seem as smart even as any one of its members! That's organizational intelligence at its worst. The book tries to get at organizational intelligence at its best. book.
Learning at Work: Research Lessons on Leading Learning in the Workplace (Wilson,D., Perkins, D., Bonnet, D., Miani, C., Unger, C., Cambridge, MA: Harvard Project Zero, 2005).
His latest book, Making Learning Whole: How Seven Principles of Teaching Can Transform Education, [was published in December 2008.] Quoting from an ad for this book:
- The problem Perkins says is there is too much problem solving ( teachers problems ) and not enough problem finding—or figuring out often 'messy' open ended investigations. 'Playing the whole game' is the solution resulting in some sort of inquiry or performance. It is not just about content but getting better at things, it requires thinking with what you know to go further, it is about finding explanations and justifications.It involves curiosity, discovery, creativity, and camaraderie. It is not just discovery learning - it needs strong guidance gradually faded back.
David Perkins is the editor or co-editor for seven edited books published between 1977 and 1995. See: http://www.gse.harvard.edu/faculty_research/profiles/cv/david_perkins.pdf.
David Perkins' first edited book was a collection of articles representing the early work of Project Zero: Perkins, D. N., & Leondar, B. (Eds.) (1977). The Arts and Cognition. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
He was a co-editor of Thinking: The Second International Conference, a book represent the Second International Conference (Perkins, D. N., Lochhead, J., & Bishop, J., Eds., 1987. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.)
He joined Howard Gardner in editing Art, Mind, and Education, a collection of articles representing the ideas of Project Zero (Gardner, H., & Perkins, D. N., Eds., 1989. Urbana-Champaign and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.)
With his colleague Robert Swartz, he co-edited A Practitioner's Series on Teaching Thinking, a series of three books on the teaching thinking (Swartz, R., & Perkins, D. N., Eds., 1989. Pacific Grove, CA: Midwest Publishers.
His interest in everyday reasoning led to co-editing Informal Reasoning and Education (Voss, J., Perkins, D. N., & Segal, J. W., Eds., 1991. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.) Quoting from the prevace to this book:
- THE CHALLENGE FACING OUR SCHOOLS
- Reasoning has long been considered one of the highest forms of mental activity. Indeed, it plays an important role in virtually all areas of life, including the vocational, the civic, the social, and the academic. People who are good reasoners generally excel, or so it is believed.
- Although reasoning has always been held in high esteem, many would argue that it is even more important to success in daily life now than ever before. We live in a highly complex and rapidly changing technological environment. Information about complicated issues fill the pages of our newspapers, demanding a high level of reasoning proficiency on the part of all citizens. The workplace is also changing in ways that place greater demands on reasoning. Recent trend data suggest that, in the economy of the future, a substantially larger segment of the workforce can expect to encounter challenging reasoning requirements than do so today. Offering evidence in support of this point, the Hudson Institute (1987) reported that the fastest growing occupations in the United States require a high level of proficiency in reasoning. By contrast, occupations that are declining in size require a low level of proficiency. Using current economic statistics to predict the skill requirements of the labor force in the year 2000, occupations that are now in the middle of the skill requirement distribution for mathematics, language, and reasoning proficiency will become the least skilled occupations of the future.
With his colleague Robert Weber, he co-edited The Inventive Mind: Creativity in Technology, a collection of articles by contemporary inventors, historians of technology, and cognitive psychologists that discloses insights about the process of invention (Weber, R. & Perkins, D. N., Eds., 1992. NY: Oxford University Press. Quoting from Barnes and Noble site:
- Is invention really "99 percent" perspiration and "one percent inspiration" as Thomas Edison assured us? Inventive Minds assembles a group of authors well equipped to address this question: contemporary inventors of important new technologies, historians of science and industry, and cognitive psychologists interested in the process of creativity. In telling their stories, the inventors describe the origins of such remarkable devices as ultrasound, the electron microscope, and artificial diamonds. The historians help us look into the minds of innovators like Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Michael Faraday, and the Wright brothers, drawing on original notebooks and other sources to show how they made their key discoveries. Finally, cognitive psychologists explore the mental processes that figure in creative thinking. Contributing to the authors' insight is their special focus on the "front end" of invention -- where ideas come from and how they are transformed into physical prototypes. They answer three questions: How does invention happen? How does invention contrast with other commonly creative pursuits such as scientific inquiry, musical composition, or painting? And how might invention best happen -- that is, what kinds of settings, conditions, and strategies appear to foster inventive activity? The book yields a wealth of information that will make absorbing reading for cognitive and social psychologists, social historians, and many working scientists and general readers who are interested in the psychology of personality and the roots of ingenuity.
He is co-editor of Software Goes to School: Teaching for Understanding with New Technologies, a book about the role of technology in education (Perkins, D. N., Schwartz, J. L., West, M., & Wiske, M. S., Eds., 1995. NY: Oxford University Press. Quoting from a Project Zero document:
- The Teaching for Understanding project was a five-year research program designed to develop and test a pedagogy of understanding. The project targeted the middle and high school years and focused on teaching and learning in four subjects (English, history, math, and science) and interdisciplinary studies. Since the project's inception, researchers and practitioners have collaborated to develop, refine, and test the pedagogy.
- During the first three years, the collaborators developed a framework that stresses in-depth learning. This framework provides teachers with a language and structure for planning their curriculum and for discussing teaching for understanding with other colleagues and with their students. At its core is a performance view of understanding: If a student "understands" a topic, she can not only reproduce knowledge, but also use it in unscripted ways. For example, a student in a history class might be able to describe the gist of the Declaration of Independence in her own words; role-play King George as he reacts to different parts of it; or write out parts of an imagined debate among the authors as they hammer out the statement. These are called "performances of understanding" because they give students the opportunity to demonstrate that they understand information, can expand upon it, and apply it in new ways.
- In addition to performances of understanding, the framework highlights three other key concepts: generative topics, understanding goals, and ongoing assessment. For teachers, attention to each of these aspects of instruction helps ensure that they will be focusing their time and energy on helping students to learn about those concepts, ideas, and skills that are most important to understand. For the students, this approach to teaching and learning enables them to apply their knowledge and skills flexibly in a variety of situations.
- The project collaborators summed up their work in two books. The Teaching for Understanding Guide (Jossey-Bass, 1998) is a practical, hands-on book that explains the teaching for understanding framework and provides examples of how teachers can use the framework in their planning and teaching. Teaching for Understanding: Linking Research with Practice explains how and why the framework was developed.
Personal Comment by David Moursund 2/12/2009
My 1963 doctorate is in math, and my interest in math education dates back even earlier. In 1969 I became one of the founding members and the first Chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oregon. In that position I became interested in artificial intelligence (and, many other computer and information science topics.) During that time I was married to a psychotherapist whose doctorate was in educational psychology. Thus I readily identify with Perkin's background and areas professional work.
My first serious encounters with the work of David Perkins was through reading about Project Zero. Later I purchased and read his 1992 book on Smart Schools and his 1995 book on Outsmarting IQ. I was particular taken by his ideas on "person-plus" in the 1992 book, and have incorporated it into a number of my professional activities.
Here is my February 2009 version of Perkin's ideas:
Person-plus is a very powerful idea. Our society has fully accepted the idea of the machines that aid our physical bodies. But, our society and educational system have a long way to go before fully accepting the mental aids aspects of person plus. Person plus ties in nicely with Computational Thinking.
Author or Authors
The initial version of this Page was developed by David Moursund.
David Perkins has published about 170 articles in a number of different journals on learning, creativity, thinking, understanding, technology, and related themes. A few of these are mentioned in the list that follows.
Perkins, David (Fall 1993). Teaching for understanding. American Educator: The Professional Journal of the American Federation of Teachers; v17 n3, pp. 8,28-35, Fall 1993. Retrieved 2/11/09: http://www.exploratorium.edu/IFI/resources/workshops/teachingforunderstanding.html. Quoting from this article:
- So with knowledge and skill deserving plenty of concern and getting plenty of attention, why pursue understanding? While there are several reasons, one stands out: Knowledge and skill in themselves do not guarantee understanding. People can acquire knowledge and routine skills without understanding their basis or when to use them. And, by and large, knowledge and skills that are not understood do students little good! What use can students make of the history or mathematics they have learned unless they have understood it?
- In the long term, education must aim for active use of knowledge and skill (Perkins, 1992). Students garner knowledge and skill in schools so that they can put them to work--in professional roles—scientist, engineer, designer, doctor, businessperson, writer artist, musician—and in lay roles—citizen, voter, parent—that require appreciation, understanding, and judgment. Yet rote knowledge generally defies active use, and routine skills often serve poorly because students do not understand when to use them. In short, we must teach for understanding in order to realize the long-term payoffs of education.
Perkins, David (December 1993). Making thinking visible. New Horizons for Learning. Retrieved 2/11/09: http://www.newhorizons.org/strategies/thinking/perkins.htm. Quoting from the document:
- Consider how often what we learn reflects what others are doing around us. We watch, we imitate, we adapt what we see to our own styles and interests, we build from there. Now imagine learning to dance when the dancers around you are all invisible. Imagine learning a sport when the players who already know the game can't be seen. Bizarre as this may sound, something close to it happens all the time in one very important area of learning: learning to think. Thinking is pretty much invisible. To be sure, sometimes people explain the thoughts behind a particular conclusion, but often they do not. Mostly, thinking happens under the hood, within the marvelous engine of our mindbrain.
- Not only is others' thinking mostly invisible, so are many circumstances that invite thinking. We would like youngsters, and indeed adults, to become alert and thoughtful when they hear an unlikely rumor, face a tricky problem of planning their time, have a dispute with a friend, or encounter a politician's sweeping statement on television. However, research by our group and others shows that people are often simply oblivious to situations that invite thinking. For a number of years, we have been building what is called a dispositional view of good thinking that pays as much attention to people's alertness and attitudes as it does to thinking skills as such. We ask not only how well do people think once they get going but how disposed are they in the first place to pay attention to the other side of the case, question the evidence, look beyond obvious possibilities, and so on. Our findings argue that everyday thinking may suffer more from just plain missing the opportunities than from poor skills (Perkins, Tishman, Ritchhart, Donis, & Andrade, 2000; Perkins & Tishman, 2001).
David Perkins: Learning as “Knowing Your Way Around The Neighborhood”. Retrieved 2/11/09: http://www.bellowsfoundation.org/interesting-riffs/learning-as-knowing-your-way-around-the-neighborhood/. Quoting Perkins:
- “The notion of knowing your way around amplifies the dimensions of our conceptions of knowing. A sparse notion of knowledge that includes only knowing that and knowing how is not enough for most kinds of learning we aspire to. To be sure, knowing your way around anything from your neighborhood to quantum physics and beyond certainly calls for knowing that and knowing how. But it depends on much more as well—–having a sense of orientation, recognizing problems and opportunities, perceiving how things work together, possessing a feel for the texture and structure of the domain. It encompasses not just explicit but tacit knowledge, not just focal awareness but peripheral awareness, not just a sense of what’s there but what’s interesting and valuable, as urged by Michael Polanyi. Better than knowing that, knowing how, or like names for knowledge, knowing your way around resonates with the notion of a learning environment.”
- “With all that, it’s worth remembering that the circumstances of learning can be quirky indeed……Ask me to name something I learned very well…..I might say Euclidean geometry in high school…..Euclidean geometry does not appear on most people’s list of school’s greatest hits. But it was on mine…..Our format for homework was the classic two-column proof, a staid tradition that for me worked wonders. Writing all those proofs, I found it a nuisance to keep looking up the wording of theorems, axioms, and definitions in the text, so I memorized them all. This rote exercise produced an unexpected spin off: a heady fluency in thinking with the concepts…..I felt that I really knew my way around Euclidean geometry.”
- “To put it another way, I had constructed…..a “knowledge object,” a mental representation (not necessarily visual) of a subject area that allows both panoramic overviews and flexible access to the details of any part. One of the most important long-term consequences of this was that I knew what it was to know my way around a subject matter. The experience became a yardstick for me, something to measure degrees of understanding with…..I not only learned geometry but learned something about learning.”
Links to Other IAE Resources
This is a collection of IAE publications related to the IAE document you are currently reading. It is not updated very often, so important recent IAE documents may be missing from the list.