A colleague at MIT of Marvin Minsky once described Minsky to me as "the smartest person in any room". Every time that I read something by Minsky I better understand the comment. Today's Minsky quote is on learning from this article, which also includes comments from Alan Kay.
"The most important thing in learning is copying how other people think. I don't think learning by doing really gets one to emulate how other people think. The way to learn something hard is by getting new ideas. How do you do something in your head? ... We need a cultural situation where every child has an adult friend who they can emulate. And communicate their ways of thinking to the child. Do something that gets each child to spend a few hours a month with someone worth copying. What we do now is to take a six year old and send him in a room full of six year olds. The result is that every person grows up with the cognitive capability of a five year old."
Minsky's point on learning is a recurring theme for him. A quote from the SF post on the 25th anniversary of the MIT Media Lab is below.
He [Minsky] said that when you see a great idea do not bore down to better understand the idea. It is much more important to ask the person how they came up with the idea. Understanding how original thinkers think about problems is the especially valuable part because a similar approach could be used to solve other big problems. Minsky also mentioned the concept that great ideas frequently come where several disciplines intersect. (I always find it fascinating when a great thinker is interested in how other great thinkers come up with their ideas. Obviously a lesson for all entrepreneurs.)
The Minsky article is courtesy of @OLPC_Mexico and my friend Mariana.