Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play is the new title from another MIT Professor, this time from the famous Media Lab department. His name is Mitchel Resnick, again passionate educator, scientist, and the man with a vision.
When we heard lifelong kindergarten, we were sold immediately and had to read this title. Lifelong kindergarten and super learning have got something in common – most of all the attitude towards life as of endless learning opportunity through interaction and experience.
In the previous “Robot – proof” post we looked on the work of another MIT Professor Joseph Aoun:
Robot – Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
This book is also another attempt to evangelize necessary changes to the system of education – Towards nurturing and facilitating human creativity. Not like this attempt hasn’t been prophesized before by influential educators.
But, this time the institution of Kindergarten is used to flagship this noble idea.
Lifelong kindergarten and super learning just go together…Let’s see why
Lifelong Kindergarten and super learning – the love story
When I take my daughter to kindergarten, I think how splendid time she’ll have there. She does summarize the activities of a almost 3 – year old there – to play, to eat, to sleep a little bit, to got outside, eat again and play. And then mommy or daddy will come to pick me up.
That’s how she summarizes it. From a perception of an adult, this sounds like a pretty straight – forward routine, and easy – going time spent in this institution. It’s also something that an adult would not connect to any creative measures – it’s not like it’s a benchmark of creativity.
Yet, underneath the superficial view, there’s a creative process.
“Play” is the key to being creative. It’s the kid’s work. Being playful is something we forget when we’re adults having “real” jobs. Kids play, that’s their work.
From an idea to an idea
If you’re intrigued by lifelong kindergarten and super learning, you’re going to incorporate this process into your life.
Everything starts with an idea or with our ability to see the models and visuals of things just in our mind.
Nikola Tesla has taken visualization to a different level. He did not need to sketch anything on a paper – his inventions were all seen in his head before they came into reality.
Once, you have your idea, it’s good to set up a first actionable item. Something you can do almost instantaneously to put your idea into action.
Only then the odds start to move in your favor.
Most of the people overthink this part. They think they do not possess the capacities or the means to deliver upon this idea.
This thinking is wrong though. I do not have the resources to start SpaceX company,
It’s ok to create a concept map for yourself, a project plan, or call it whatever – something that portrays and predicts the future, but the emphasis should be on what can you do NOW.
Play is a process when you simply try different angles of interaction.
The kids try to fold and mold, interact with different things, trying different options. They play different scenarios and they never seem to get tired from the endless iteration. Of course, they get bored once in a while, but there’s just a short intermezzo till they find another game.
Share is a very natural step of this process since we’re social animals. What is more important is sharing with people that can give us different feedbacks – constructive ones that can help us going further and cracking our things further apart.
It’s necessary to reflect – stand aside and replay the experiences to question ourselves, what did we learn, what went OK, or what we have to do differently.
Mentors, leaders peers, and maybe even sometimes teachers are necessary during this time of reflection.
This book has also come up with a concept of four P(s)
That self – boasting… Professor
This book is full of self – boasting and marketing calls.
But, why shouldn’t it be?
Mitchel Resnick truly believes that MIT’s Media Lab department is doing it right on the side of education.
They have developed Scratch.
Scratch is the game or should we say a visual – based programming language. You do not write code, but you rather build blocks. In the end, the kids can come up with awesome projects, where they can really catch the basics of software development, animation, design and etc.
Scratch has become a worldwide project. It’s referenced throughout the book many many times, but for good cause.
Professor Resnick lobbies for education that is built upon 4 P(s). And the principles of Scratch apply to lifelong kindergarten and super learning as well.
Education should be based
Passion is the necessary component to learning. We simply learn wisely when we feel this topic tells us something. I can prepare the best seminar
Peers are must when you think differently on education. In the traditional system, that is didactic, the instructions, the information is spilled into student’s brains.
Peers based system is the community system based on sharing of experiences acquired when solving a common problem.
Your fellow peer shares a common problem or learning challenge with you and has probably tried some other methods to solve it. Maybe, he hasn’t come up with a final solution, but together you can share some valuable insights that move you forward.
Play a.k.a. the experimenting and playfulness are the basic substance of lifelong kindergarten and super learning. Learners simply have to take trial and error paths.
Learning must become a human action that supports taking controlled risks – risks that are not too harmful to an individual.
Again software development is here to be taken as a model.
The software developer tests, tunes, tries different ways how to solve a problem – and he’s not afraid that his program is going to crash many many times.
principles that apply to lifelong kindergarten and super learning society.
The book does not give you a whole lot new perspective, but it is a nice refresh to the better education we should all nurture, especially us, adult learners.
But, looking at the very practical project – the Scratch we all can learn some patterns that are plausible for our learning reflections.
In the conclusion of this book, the Professor gives these 10 tips to nurture your learning process:
- Start simple
- Work on things you like – it must go from within
- If you have no clue what to do, fiddle around – in another word tinker your way around. Try to play with already done things and concepts.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment – period
- Find a friend or study group to work and share ideas with
- It’s OK to copy stuff – under creative commons, but only if you take it further to add something of your own.
- Write a diary of projects or sketchbook
- Build, take apart, and rebuild – remember Edison’s: ” I have not failed, I’ve just found 10 000 ways that won’t work!”
- Lots of things can go wrong; Stick with it – you will get stuck. You need to hang on there and look for help, new ideas that can move you forward.
- Create your own learning tips – customize the learning patterns to your needs and circumstances. Learning is about experiences. You always need to look for, what works for you.
Not necessarily the strategy, but here on this site, we are not against nootropics. They can simply boost or start the processes needed for implementing your “lifelong kindergarten and super learning”.
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