BLUE HILL, Maine - Seymour Papert is tinkering with a robotic, computer-controlled turtle in The Learning Barn, the rustic, light-filled laboratory where he developed and refined many of his ideas.
The long table he sits at is covered with relics of his prodigious career. A super-inexpensive laptop computer - based on his ideas - that originated at the MIT Media Laboratory, where he was a founding faculty member. A pile of DVDs on higher mathematics. A truck that brings to mind Papert's work in developing a line of robotic toys made of Legos. His turtle, a device to teach children to program computers.
Papert, who was a professor of mathematics, education, and media technology at MIT, has devoted much of his career to learning: self-learning (he taught himself Russian) and learning about learning. He was one of the early pioneers of artificial intelligence, and he invented the computer language Logo to teach children about computers.
Now he must learn something even more challenging - how to be Seymour Papert again.