Sunday, March 10, 2013

Learning Creative Learning: Week 4 - Powerful Ideas

This Week for Learning Creative Learning

Readings in Preparation for Session 4 (Mar 4): Powerful Ideas

* Alan Kay (1995): Powerful Ideas Need Love Too! [Note: Open in a new tab or window to view the whole document]

* Mitchel Resnick & Brian Silverman (2005): Some Reflections on Designing Construction Kits for Kids. Interaction Design and Children conference.


Papert described powerful ideas as general (applicable across domains), intelligible (easy to grasp), and personal (rooted in experience). Share an example of a powerful idea from your own experience. What people, materials, or environments supported your learning experience? How might you help others understand and appreciate this powerful idea?

Create a project with TurtleArt, and reflect on any “powerful ideas” you engaged with in the process. (For more background, see TurtleArt paper below.)

Additional Resources:
* Paula Bonta, Artemis Papert, & Brian Silverman (2010). Turtle, Art, TurtleArt. Constructionism 2010 conference.
Art themes with TurtleArt
* Arvind Gupta (2010). Turning trash into toys for learning (TED talk). See also free books and videos from Arvind Gupta.

I am learning things more as a whole this week as opposed to my recent posts where I had key ideas from each article. The thing I am learning most is my desire to be good at whatever I do. Take Turtle Art for example. I suck at it. Plain and simple. It drives me nuts. I want to create art. I want to create cool things. I need time. I need to play and tinker with Turtle Art. This goes back to the previous week of playing, making, tinkering to learn. I have these powerful ideas that I want to create, but need freedom to explore how to make it happen on the canvas.

While reading the articles in my short amount of free time I realized that I agree with the notions shared. Schools don't have the luxury for kids to have time to explore "big, powerful ideas". I am fortunate enough to have the flexibility in my classes to do this and I see the rewards at that come with it. However, my situation is different than the rest of my fellow educators and classes. I work with the gifted. I have more freedom and wiggle room in my classes. The rest don't. Because there is not that time to go big everyone suffers. Just like my Turtle Art skills are suffering right now for not having time to explore. It all connects!

Because we don't have this time to do these big idea thinking and tinkering many students struggle because this is how they operate. Schools don't have time or space for them to strive and be successful. They must conform to the desks, 45 minute class periods, with multiple choice tests. I often wonder if we could simply eliminate labels of special ed, gifted, etc. and instead changed the whole school day around. Would these labels be needed if we could create "learning centers" that met the needs of the learner and the project they were working on with breakout sessions ran by "teachers" that taught the essential skills to help guide them on their personal journey of self learning and experimentation? 

That is where I am. I have crafted time into my schedule this week for specific Turtle Art learning and specific Scratch learning. With this time carved into my schedule I look forward to documenting my learning journey. Perhaps I will screencast my learning and thinking. That would be interesting to broadcast this, have others chime in, and experiment with sharing my tinkering process. I might do this. I love spontaneous "powerful" ideas!
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