Thursday, April 03, 2008

playing with the kindergarten metaphor

imagine -> create -> play -> share -> reflect and then iterate again

Imagine if our education systems were based on the above cycle

Mitch Resnick labels this as the kindergarten metaphor of education in this paper:
All I Really Need to Know (About Creative Thinking)I Learned (By Studying How Children Learn) in Kindergarten (pdf, 6pp)
This type of process is repeated over and over in kindergarten. The materials vary (finger paint, crayons, bells) and the creations vary (pictures, stories, songs), but the core process is the same. I think of it as a spiraling process in which children imagine what they want to do, create a project based on their ideas, play with their creations, share their ideas and creations with others, reflect on their experiences – all of which leads them to imagine new ideas and new projects
A few points from his paper:

Tool now exist (Crickets, Scratch) which enable the kindergarten process to be readily extended for older children

Crickets are small programmable devices, small enough to fit in the palm of a child’s hand. Children can plug motors, lights, sensors, and other electronic blocks into a Cricket, then program their creations to spin, light up, and play music.

Crickets have been used successfully to redress the gender imbalance in IT

Piaget quote: "Play is the work of children"

What do school education, entertainment and edutainment all have in common? They are done to you.

Playing video games does not support kids learning to the same extent as making games or other projects (James Gee take note)

Learning to share is harder than learning to ride a bicycle or write a computer program - but more important. Learning to share programmable projects is even better, see the Scratch website, over 100,000 projects shared there. Construction and community go hand in hand.

Minsky quote: Logo has a great grammar but not much literature

It's important to explicitly promote reflection.

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