Sunday, March 3, 2013

Learning Creative Learning: Week 3: Constructionism and Making Part 1

I was swirling in so much reading between school, deadlines, book reviews, and this class that I am behind. I have not been able to fit the time in to do the assignments with Scratch and writing about my childhood object from last week. They will get done, but just not in the weekly manner.

I do want to make sure that I have time to type up my responses and ideas to the readings because I feel that is important.

Readings in Preparation for Session 3: Part 1

* Seymour Papert (1994): The Children’s Machine (Chapter 7: Instructionism versus Constructionism)
This reading did not really hold my interest. Only a few things stood out, but what stood out was quite powerful. "If children really want to learn something, and have the opportunity to learn to it in use, they do so even if the teaching is poor. For example, many learn difficult video games with no professional teaching at all." What strikes me about this is how true it is. My son has taught himself Minecraft all on his own. He WANTS to learn. He has a passion to figure things out. The key is how can we as teachers find this passion and help students work on these skills in school? I think we need to reshuffle how a typical day looks in a school. There is time and place for skill learning and certain classes that need to be taught. However, can we give them time in their day to really work on something they want? I don't know, but if we could get kids excited to come to school where they were engaged in learning how awesome would this be?

The other part that stood out to me was " may even suggest that there is no real crisis in education after all, since people with a will do find a way to learn what they need. Of course, this complacent suggestion is not serious." My question is should it? Is there a crisis in education? Or perhaps the government and institutions have created a crisis by always restricting students from finding a way to learn what they need. In the end this almost seems true. The kids that walk our hallways you can mark which ones will do great in life because they want to. That is the essential key in everything. You have to have an intrinsic desire to WANT to do something. It does not matter if it is education, sports, parenting, etc.

I love this passage from Learning by Making article: 
"How do we measure engagement? I was rather frustrated, to be honest. How do we know children are learning if we can’t test it? I put it back to them: “How do we know what we’re testing is real learning?”"

* Dale Dougherty (2011): The Heart of Maker Faire (video)
Short video, but in the 70 seconds you feel the joy of playing with your passions and I love the last comment about "walking away thinking you can do things". That is what we need our classrooms to feel like. We want students challenged, but for them to see the light at the end of the tunnel that lets them know they can do something great!

First, I want some copper tape and that pen so I make things projects. I liked how she mentioned that paper, paint, pens relate to a different type of person who is not engaged in video game programs, electronics, etc. I like how it provides an entry points for a varied group of people into the world of engineering even if they don't realize it. What a cool way to mix media and two types of thinking that we don't typically associate.
I am fascinated by these projects and am looking at doing some of them in my homeroom class.
For this week's activity, create an Scratch project about things you like to do, then share it using the links below. If you are new to Scratch, first follow the 4 steps listed under New to Scratch?
Things I Like To Do Activity
1) Create a Scratch project about things you like to do.
2) Share your project on the Scratch website.
3) Add the project to the LCL: What We Like To Do gallery
New to Scratch?
1) For an overview, watch the Scratch Intro Video on the Scratch home page.
2) Follow the steps for Getting Started with Scratch. You can access helpful resources on the Support page, including Scratch in multiple languages.
3) Download and install the Scratch software.
4) Sign up for a Scratch account so you can share and download projects.

Additional Resources
* Leah Buechley, High-Low Tech, research group website
* The Maker Education Initiative website

I grouped a reading the video because they cover the same material.
* Mitchel Resnick (2012). Let’s Teach Kids to Code (TED Talk video).
* Mitchel Resnick et al. (2009): Scratch: Programming for All. Communications of the ACM.

This struck a chord with me when he talked about not really liking the fact that kids today are called Digital Natives. He said their technology skills are not always there. His goal is to make them fluent where they are not only playing video games, texting, and gaming, but CREATING. He said it is almost like they can read, but not write when it comes to technolgy. This is true. 100% true. I have as a teacher assumed they can do more than what I thought. I now know that when students come to my class that they can barely create. It is a way of thinking that needs to be taught as well as teaching them the tools to use to showcase and engage with their creations. 

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