Quote: What can, should, and will be done?

I was trying to remember this quote the other day and I came across it in my notes just now, so I’m posting it here… to be able to find it in the future and to share it with others. I think this line of thinking is critical to actually effecting the sort of organizational change educational technologists aim for:

“Seymour Papert wrote that when it comes to learning, what can be done is a technological question, what should be done is a pedagogical question, and what will be done is a political question.” (Shaffer, 2006, p. 191)

I guess I need to track down the original Papert quote, so if anyone knows where that is, let me know. :)


Shaffer, D. W. (2006). How Computer Games Help Children Learn. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

2 Responses to “Quote: What can, should, and will be done?”

  1. Jenith Mishne Says:

    FYI…That quote was in Mindstorms,
    As Papert noted in Mindstorms almost two decades ago, “What is happening
    now is an empirical question. What can happen is a technical
    question, but what will happen is a political question,
    depending on social choices” (1980, p. 29). This is
    the key issue. Will technology continue to slip through the
    window of television, or will it become a door that opens
    the way to new opportunities and change?

  2. Mark Wagner Says:

    Thanks for the comment, Jenith… and for pointing me to the original quote. I think I like Shaffer’s version slightly better, actually… I guess he had almost thirty years to improve on it. Or perhaps he heard Papert say a more polished version at one point. Who knows. Perhaps that’s why Shaffer didn’t cite it better. Hm.