Another course I’m currently taking part in is MIT Media Lab‘s Learning Creative Learning. What’s unique about it is that it is not being taught through an established platform like Coursera or EdX; instead, the power of Google is being used: Youtube for videos, Google+ for sharing and discussion, Google Drive for documents, etc. The course is being led by Mitch Resnick, who gave the following TED talk on teaching kids to code.
The course seeks to explore the different types of creative learning, which is distinguished from the syllabus-based learning of many schools today. They look to kindergarten for inspiration, where children are given basic tools (blocks, paint, etc.) and are left create whatever they can imagine. Through a spiral of Imagining, Creating, Playing, Sharing, Reflecting and Imagining again, the children learn how to create bigger and better towers, for example. This learning through play is something occupational therapists know all about, and Resnick thinks it can and should be applied to learning at any age. While the tools of kindergarten are blocks and beads, older ages need more complex tools to work with, which is where technology can come into play if designed right.
Resnick gave a talk on this imagination spiral at the Creativity and Cognition conference in June 2007. The accompanying article is available online, and it was the suggested reading for our first (this) week. I highly recommend it, as it’s very easy to read, and it’ll hopefully inspire you like it inspired me.
Resnick, M. (2007). All I Really Need to Know (About Creative Thinking) I Learned (By Studying How Children Learn) in Kindergarten. ACM Creativity & Cognition conference, Washington DC, June 2007.
I wholeheartedly agree that the imagination spiral is applicable to all ages. It definitely applies to the way I learned HTML, with a project in mind. However, I will admit that I’m not sure it’s applicable to all subjects of learning, such as maths. Yes, maybe the spiral is applicable if you’re an amazing mathematician trying to prove some sort of theory, but for learning multiplication and division? I may be proved wrong in the course of the next twelve weeks, and I am fully open to that. In fact, I’d love it if we could figure out a way to make learning mathematical concepts more fun and creative. Someone please, oh please, make proof by induction fun. (That was what I enjoyed least about IB Higher Level Maths.)
I’m very excited and inspired by this course already, and my group (#446!) is made up of an amazing selection of people, including a woman working as a user experience designer who studied human computer interaction. (Yes, I’ve already started picking her brains about it!)