Creative Kindergarten Learning Spiral (Mitchel Resnick, 2007)
(Source: Invent to Learn)
(Source: Invent to Learn, 2013)
There are three main processes:
(Source: Invent to Learn)
We tried all the systems that have been tried before, then we tried our own systems and we tried some combinations that no one had ever thought of. Eventually, we flew.
"Does the computer program the child or the child program the computer?"
I believe this quote is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. There's always been a tension or a shifting of balance between creating and creation. When I was a student in the 1980s, computer programming was quite difficult for me, and probably others as well, and it was definitely not as graphical or intuitive as today. And because personal computing was in its infancy, primarily experts/ professionals created most of the programs that the average consumer used. Any amateur programs were probably relegated to school computer labs or bedrooms. Therefore, in the past the computer did program the child, for the most part.
Nowadays, with the maker movement is full force, it is definitely easier for the child to be the master or programmer of the computer. This coincides with technology as a whole democratizing many activities, from making movies (iMovie, YouTube), to music (Garage Band), and even creating objects (3-D printer), and delivering them to a worldwide audience. The same holds true for programming with languages like Scratch and Hopscotch, students can create their own apps and games.
Now the only issue is that everyone is in on the game. There are about one and a half million apps in both the Android and Apple play stores. I guess the playing field has been leveled, but it's now tougher to stand out in a crowd, because everyone is clamoring to be noticed. I wonder if this will begin to be a deterrent for those who want to create, or simply a challenge to be the cream that rises to to the top. Time will tell.
(Source: Invent to Learn, Martinez & Stager)
I finally got my hands on a Google Cardboard, a cheap but very usable VR headset. Some of it, despite some lower res graphics still felt very immersive. There was one where a huge whale splashes in front of your boat and I could also feel its massive size and weight about to crush me. Also, another one involved a cityscape and you get to fly/move around. Again very immersive but I did begin to experience a bit of disorienting. In fact, after about 10 minutes of playing around, I find I'm still feeling some after effects of being in a VR environment. One other interesting app was one of Aboriginal masks, and the details and being able to completely see around the entire objects was quite amazing.
All in all, the future of VR, especially in the realm of teaching holds much potential. Just the more realistic and immersive experience of any possible teaching subject bodes well for students to really experience something, which in turn should help them understand and remember what they have learned. As VR continues to evolve, we will soon be living in a world with real "holodecks" that will truly transform what our definition of reality is.
Can children learn entirely on their own? That was the question on Sugata Mitra’s mind back on January 29th, 1999, then science director of an educational technology firm in India. The experiment was simply placing a computer on the outside wall of the building where he worked facing one of the poorest slums in New Delhi. This endeavor became known as the Hole in the Wall. The curious visitors were children who are unschooled and illiterate and most who had never seen a computer before. That computer had a video camera to record what was happening.
What he recorded was quite amazing. Children around the ages of 7 - 13 began to play with this curious device. They moved icons on the screen, used the touch pad, and once they discovered something, that information was passed on to another child. This was all done without any instruction from adults. Dozens of children were using the computer to play music and games, to draw with Microsoft Paint, and use other computer tasks. So was this simply an anomaly, a one-time event? Mitra and his colleagues repeated this experiment in other places in India, rural as well as urban, getting the same results. Often if they could not read, they managed to somehow learn English or Hindi through the computer. Mitra estimates for every computer setup, 300 children became computer literate within 3 months.
Was it a perfect system of learning? Maybe not. Some of the criticisms range from the the lack of evidence of actual improvement in math or other skills in the children; computers themselves falling eventually into disrepair without proper maintenance or management; and more of the children were older boys, so younger girls were often deprived of the experience.
Nonetheless, Mitral's experiments illustrate the three core aspects of our human nature: curiosity, playfulness and sociability. Curiosity was the force that pulled the children to the computer and motivated them to explore it. Playfulness motivated them to practice many computer skills, just for fun; while sociability allowed the children to share their knowledge with others, to create a community of shared learners.
(Source: Free to Learn, Peter Gray; Wikipedia, Sugata Mitra)
What does it take to become an expert in a field? Conventional wisdom tells you do something for 10000 hours, and voila, you’re an expert! No, says K. Anders Ericsson, an expert in the field of expert-level skill acquisition, who’s a professor psychology at Florida State University. It’s not how much time your spend learning, but how you use that time. Experts parse their learning into tiny slices or segments, practice that one action endlessly, but most importantly, they observe what’s happening and make imperceptible adjustments to improve. This goes for athletes, surgeons, chefs or spelling bee champions. Ericsson refers to this as deliberate practice: small tasks are repeated with immediate feedback, correction and experimentation.
The question is this: Are our students and we as teachers engaging in deliberate practice? Or are we just doing the same things over and over, without knowing what and how to change? Are we improving over time and growing, or just spinning our wheels in the mud?
(Source: Work Rules!, Laszlo Bock)
Daniel H. Lee
This blog will be dedicated to sharing in three areas: happenings in my classroom and school; analysis and distillation of other educators' wealth of knowledge in various texts; insights from other disciplines and areas of expertise that relate and connect with educational practices.