Important Questions in Education Research


During the event, we will discuss the list of education research questions Alan Kay considers fundamental, ways questions can be addressed, and reasons why few researchers try.


Full recording: voice, web tour, text chat.


All Math 2.0 events are free and open to the public. Information about all events in the series is here:

Saturday, August 7th 2010 we will meet in the LearnCentral public Elluminate room at 11am Pacific - 2pm Eastern time. WorldClock for your time zone.


To join:
  • Follow this link:
  • Click "OK" and "Accept" several times as your browser installs the software. When you see Elluminate Session Log-In, enter your name and click the "Login" button
  • You will find yourself in a virtual room. An organizer will be there to greet you, starting about half an hour before the event.
If this is your first Elluminate event, consider coming a few minutes earlier to check out the technology. The room opens half an hour before the event.


During the event, we will discuss Alan's list of important questions in education research, and his vision of how to address the questions.

Partial list of questions:
  • Should various levels of a child's society be able to choose some of what a child should learn? If so, what and why?
  • What kinds of learning are we going to try to help the child accomplish? Case-based recognition of situations, and actions to take? Deep understanding and fluency that resembles practitioners in a subject area? Etc.
  • What is the spectrum (or the dimensions) of children's abilities to learn a wide variety of subjects (e.g. from sports to physics)?
  • What is the similar spectrum (or dimensions) of internal and external motivations for putting effort into learning various subjects?
  • How can we ascertain what kinds of help are needed by the different kinds of children?
  • What are the trade-offs and pathways of teaching children how to learn vs. teaching subject matter?
  • What are the best kinds of situations/environmens/processes to help children learn difficult to learn ideas?


Alan Kay's TED talk, 2007

Alan Kay's reading list
"The Power Of The Context" - Alan Kay's tribute to his research community
"Points of View: A Tribute to Alan Kay" book

Event Host

Alan_Kay.jpgAlan Kay is one of the earliest pioneers of object-oriented programming, personal computing, and graphical user interfaces. His contributions have been recognized with the Charles Stark Draper Prize of the National Academy of Engineering “for the vision, conception, and development of the first practical networked personal computers,” the Alan M. Turing Award from the Association of Computing Machinery “for pioneering many of the ideas at the root of contemporary object-oriented programming languages, leading the team that developed Smalltalk, and for fundamental contributions to personal computing,” and the Kyoto Prize from the Inamori Foundation “for creation of the concept of modern personal computing and contribution to its realization.” This work was done in the rich context of ARPA and Xerox PARC with many talented colleagues.

He has been a Xerox Fellow, Chief Scientist of Atari, Apple Fellow, Disney Fellow, and HP Senior Fellow. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at UCLA. In 2001 he founded Viewpoints Research Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to children, learning and advanced systems research.

At Viewpoints Research Institute he and his colleagues continue to explore advanced systems and programming design by aiming for a “Moore’s Law” advance in software creation of many orders of magnitude. Kay and Viewpoints are also deeply involved in the One Laptop Per Child initiative.