Sunday, 2 November 2014

Tinkering at the Mind Lab with a bit of MLE and Reverse thinking thrown in

Today at the Mind Lab we were introduced to tinkering.

First of all we created Wobble Bots and then Scribble Bots.  Watch the video to find out how!

Wouldn't this make fantastic procedural writing!

Children should engage in tinkering and making because they are powerful ways to learn.
( A must read here is the book Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering and Engineering in the Clasroom by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary S. Stager

Essential learning goes beyond books and theoretical "what ifs." When students design, build, iterate, and revise their creations, they learn important life lessons about empathy, creativity, grit, failure, and success.  

Piaget’s constructivist theory talks about knowledge being a consequence of experience. As teachers we all know that children learn best by doing. Seymour Papert added to Piagets constructivist theory and took it a step further towards action. He defined this theory as constructionism and is considered the founder of the maker movement. Papert extended Piagets constructivist theory adding manipulative materials to the idea that learning is most effective when part of an activity the learner experiences is constructing a meaningful product. This theory is really at the heart of the maker space movement and in understanding the potential for learning through a maker space. Although the learning happens inside the learner's head, it happens most reliably when the learner is engaged in a personally meaningful activity that makes the learning real and shareable. Construction that may be shared could be as simple as a poem or a game created. John Dewey was an advocate for hands on learning, however it is important to note though that constructionism is more than just about hand’s on learning. The most meaningful part is about the questions asked as part of the process. The resultant product might stem from such a question like ‘how can we make this product go faster?” Constructionism empowers learners to connect with everything they know, feel, and wonder, stretching themselves into learning new things.

Reverse Thinking

After our tinkering we talked about Modern Learning Environments and brainstormed traditional environments compared to MLE's.  Chris Clay then introduced the concept of Reverse thinking and we had to choose one component from the MLE brainstorm and then think about it in reverse.  Reverse thinking helped us to clarify exactly what a MLE is.  I tried this in the classroom when I took a group of children who were creating an e-book.  We tried reverse thinking to brainstorm what an e-book was NOT and this really did help clarify what an e-book was.  Try it!

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