Thursday, February 14, 2013

Learning Creative Learning: MIT Online Class Week 1 Thoughts

I came across this awesome online class that MIT is experimenting with called Learning Creative Learning. You can find the link here

I missed the registration, but am participating in Google+ and still trying to stay current with discussions, blog posts, readings, videos, etc.

Today I had a chance to watch the introduction video and read the reading for week 1

The reading was All I Really Need to Know (about Creative Thinking) I Learned (by Studying How Children Learn) in Kindergarten, by Mitchel Resnick of the MIT Media lab. This was the suggested reading for the first session of the Learning Creative Learning online course.

I won't give a summary as you can read it for yourself, but here are some of my take aways from the reading.

  • I like the idea of the spiral learning of Imagine, Create, Play, Share, Reflect, and back to imagine that they lay out in the article when discussing kindergarten. This whole idea is intriguing and one that I need to reflect upon more and see if it exists in my classroom enough throughout the days, weeks, and months and more importantly how to chart and analyze while working to create a better learning environment.
  • I agree that kindergarten is losing out on the essentials. So weird to read this as I just made comments like this to other people about my daughter. Kindergarten is no longer just a place to learn to be creative and work with others. There is more emphasis on reading, writing, math, etc. I don't think this is a bad thing, but it has shifted the way these classrooms look and operate. I am quite glad that my daughter does not have homework. My son had homework in kindergarten and that drove me nuts. 5 and 6 year olds should not have homework. 
  • "In a society characterized by uncertainty and rapid change, the ability to think creatively is becoming the key to success and satisfaction, both professionally and personally." AMEN! Wake up schools as this is why we need to rethink how we operate in certain aspects.
  • Kindergarten repeats the whole spiral learning process over and over and I cannot help but think of my son playing Minecraft. I know video games get a bad rap(still not sure why, but that is another discussion), but my son does Imagine, Create, Play, Share, Reflect, and back to Imagine in Minecraft several times a day. When he explains his world it is amazing to hear his articulation and thinking. If only I could get that incorporate into his sentence writing in school we would be set. The transfer or should I say passion is not quite there yet.
  • Another line that really stood out to me - "..."little c" creativity - that is, creativity within one's personal life - not big "C".........The goal is not to nurture the next Mozart or Einstein, but to help everyone become more creative in ways they deal with everyday problems."
  • This next one has me thinking about the general idea in terms of education. "I am sure that designers and engineers at the toy companies learn a great deal while creating these toys, but I doubt that children learn very much while interacting with the toys." Applying this notion to education I think about how much I loop ideas in my brain to create the next great lesson or unit. I mean I work like mad to perfect the teaching moment. I sometimes wonder if the students use their brains as much as I did to prepare the unit. I don't know how to measure the levels of thinking, but if I can create environments of learning that generate as much thought and reflection as I do into my lessons, then I have something good!
Those are my thoughts which are plenty for one day!
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