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robertogreco : lifelongkindergarten   10

The Educational Tyranny of the Neurotypicals | WIRED
"Ben Draper, who runs the Macomber Center for Self Directed Learning, says that while the center is designed for all types of children, kids whose parents identify them as on the autism spectrum often thrive at the center when they’ve had difficulty in conventional schools. Ben is part of the so-called unschooling movement, which believes that not only should learning be self-directed, in fact we shouldn't even focus on guiding learning. Children will learn in the process of pursuing their passions, the reasoning goes, and so we just need to get out of their way, providing support as needed.

Many, of course, argue that such an approach is much too unstructured and verges on irresponsibility. In retrospect, though, I feel I certainly would have thrived on “unschooling.” In a recent paper, Ben and my colleague Andre Uhl, who first introduced me to unschooling, argue that it not only works for everyone, but that the current educational system, in addition to providing poor learning outcomes, impinges on the rights of children as individuals.

MIT is among a small number of institutions that, in the pre-internet era, provided a place for non-neurotypical types with extraordinary skills to gather and form community and culture. Even MIT, however, is still trying to improve to give these kids the diversity and flexibility they need, especially in our undergraduate program.

I'm not sure how I'd be diagnosed, but I was completely incapable of being traditionally educated. I love to learn, but I go about it almost exclusively through conversations and while working on projects. I somehow kludged together a world view and life with plenty of struggle, but also with many rewards. I recently wrote a PhD dissertation about my theory of the world and how I developed it. Not that anyone should generalize from my experience—one reader of my dissertation said that I’m so unusual, I should be considered a "human sub-species." While I take that as a compliment, I think there are others like me who weren’t as lucky and ended up going through the traditional system and mostly suffering rather than flourishing. In fact, most kids probably aren’t as lucky as me and while some types are more suited for success in the current configuration of society, a huge percentage of kids who fail in the current system have a tremendous amount to contribute that we aren’t tapping into.

In addition to equipping kids for basic literacy and civic engagement, industrial age schools were primarily focused on preparing kids to work in factories or perform repetitive white-collar jobs. It may have made sense to try to convert kids into (smart) robotlike individuals who could solve problems on standardized tests alone with no smartphone or the internet and just a No. 2 pencil. Sifting out non-neurotypical types or trying to remediate them with drugs or institutionalization may have seemed important for our industrial competitiveness. Also, the tools for instruction were also limited by the technology of the times. In a world where real robots are taking over many of those tasks, perhaps we need to embrace neurodiversity and encourage collaborative learning through passion, play, and projects, in other words, to start teaching kids to learn in ways that machines can’t. We can also use modern technology for connected learning that supports diverse interests and abilities and is integrated into our lives and communities of interest.

At the Media Lab, we have a research group called Lifelong Kindergarten, and the head of the group, Mitchel Resnick, recently wrote a book by the same name. The book is about the group’s research on creative learning and the four Ps—Passion, Peers, Projects, and Play. The group believes, as I do, that we learn best when we are pursuing our passion and working with others in a project-based environment with a playful approach. My memory of school was "no cheating,” “do your own work,” "focus on the textbook, not on your hobbies or your projects," and "there’s time to play at recess, be serious and study or you'll be shamed"—exactly the opposite of the four Ps.

Many mental health issues, I believe, are caused by trying to “fix” some type of neurodiversity or by simply being insensitive or inappropriate for the person. Many mental “illnesses” can be “cured” by providing the appropriate interface to learning, living, or interacting for that person focusing on the four Ps. My experience with the educational system, both as its subject and, now, as part of it, is not so unique. I believe, in fact, that at least the one-quarter of people who are diagnosed as somehow non-neurotypical struggle with the structure and the method of modern education. People who are wired differently should be able to think of themselves as the rule, not as an exception."
neurotypicals  neurodiversity  education  schools  schooling  learning  inequality  elitism  meritocracy  power  bias  diversity  autism  psychology  stevesilberman  schooliness  unschooling  deschooling  ronsuskind  mentalhealth  mitchresnick  mit  mitemedialab  medialab  lifelongkindergarten  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  pedagogy  tyranny  2018  economics  labor  bendraper  flexibility  admissions  colleges  universities  joiito 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Harvard EdCast: Lifelong Kindergarten | Harvard Graduate School of Education
"The concept of kindergarten — as a place for young children to learn by interacting with materials and people around them — has existed for over 200 years, but never has the approach been so suited to the way the world works as it is today, says Mitchel Resnick, the LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab.

“That approach to kindergarten is really aligned with the needs of today’s society," says Resnick, citing the need to adapt to the speed at which things change in the world. "As kids in the traditional kindergarten were playfully designing and creating things, they were developing as creative thinkers…. That’s exactly what we need.”

Being given the room to explore, experiment, and express oneself is vital to becoming a creative thinker — and to the learning process as a whole — says Resnick, author of Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play. If people aren't encouraged in their creativity at an early age, and if this isn't nutured throughout their schooling, then they aren't as prepared to deal with the unexpected when it arises.

“We’re trying to spread that approach to learners of all ages," says Resnick, who also leads the Lifelong Kindergarten research group at MIT. "We want to take what’s worked best in kindergarten and here at the Media Lab and provide opportunities for all kids of all ages to be able to explore and experiment and express themselves in that same spirit.”

In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Resnick talks about the importance of nurturing creativity in learning and explains why kindergarten is the greatest invention of the last millennium."

[See also:
"Mitchel Resnick - MIT Media Lab: Lifelong Kindergarten" (2014)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRxD-pe3PN0

"Helping Kids Develop as Creative Thinkers" (2017)
https://vimeo.com/244986026 ]
mitchresnick  lifelongkindergarten  mitmedialab  2017  interviews  kindergarten  play  projects  projectbasedlearning  passion  collaboration  experimentation  creativity  medialab  scratch  making  pbl  teaching  sfsh  learning  howweteach  howwelearn  risks  risktaking  education  schools  lcproject  openstudioproject  curiosity  schooling  unschooling  deschooling  mindstorms  writing  coding  programming  leaning  creating  lego  reasoning 
december 2017 by robertogreco
30 years of collaboration towards empowering children to be creative thinkers on Vimeo
"For the past 30 years, the LEGO Group and the MIT Media Lab have collaborated on projects based on a shared passion for learning through play. Today, the LEGO Foundation and MIT's Lifelong Kindergarten group continue this tradition, exploring new ways to engage children in creative, playful learning experiences."
seymourpapert  lego  mitchresnick  scratch  mindstorms  lifelongkindergarten  mit  medialab  mitmedialab  education  learning  children  coding  creativity  2015 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Let's Stop Focusing on Shiny Gadgets and Start Using Tech to Empower People | Wired Opinion | Wired.com
"Even though Red Burns was one of the most influential figures in the tech industry over the past 30 years — most famous for co-founding the groundbreaking Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU, and in a sense, the beginnings of interaction design — it’s not uncommon for technophiles to have never heard her name. Two weeks ago, she passed away. But much more needs to be said about one of the smartest, gutsiest women I ever knew, and about what she thought about education, technology, design … and life.

Red wasn’t particularly interested in IPOs or the latest tech fetish, even though she was always exceptionally proud of her students and their accomplishments. She knew that technology was a means to an end — and that the end was people.

In that simple reframing from technology to empowerment of people, I believe there’s something everyone one of us — whether designer, programmer, entrepreneur, investor, teacher, student, parent, or child — can learn from Red. Especially in a world where we tend to focus on teaching kids to code, debating the flatness of the latest iOS, or discussing the newest and shiniest device still searching for a meaningful application.



But Red wasn’t that interested in technology per se; she saw it as something you needed to get to the real work: improving people’s lives, making them feel more connected, bringing delight in big and small ways, and empowering them to affect change.

When Red co-founded ITP in 1971, most people were aspiring to get to color TV, but she was dreaming of ways to turn the media ecosystem upside down. Among her many projects was two-way television for and by senior citizens — one of the first Teletext field trials in the United States. She was passionate about turning “consumers” into creators, and her work and philosophies foretold of some of the most successful products of the digital age: YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

“I’m not going to teach you any software programs. Software changes. Technology changes. You are here to learn how to learn.” Those are the first words I recall hearing from Red in my very first class at ITP.

It wasn’t a coincidence that Red created ITP inside NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts rather than the computer science department; she wanted the program to be filled with dreamers, inventors, artists, and change-makers. She questioned the status quo and continued to do so as an educator and industry provocateur.

Today, the program Red co-founded represents the most innovative higher ed laboratory for what design, technology, and art can do when brought together in new and inventive ways. When I attended ITP in the mid 1990s — on the eve of the explosion of the commercial web and the birth of New York’s Silicon Alley tech scene — my class was filled with an unlikely cohort.

Many students, including myself, had little experience with technology. There were teachers, artists, filmmakers, policy experts, lawyers, musicians, and even a sword swallower from the Coney Island sideshow. Red relished finding people from every corner of the globe, and from every background and walk of life you could imagine.

This deep, abiding belief in the importance of diversity in the collaborative process is one of the many values I inherited from Red. When it came to finding students for that next class at ITP, she was less interested in the answers people brought to the table; instead it was all about the questions.

Red could have filled her classes with cookie-cutter 4.0 students with pedigrees from the elite undergraduate institutions of the world, and to be clear, there were some of those. She was famous for saying it was harder to get into ITP than it was to get into medical school. But Red was much more interested in the level of curiosity and passion an individual brought to the ITP community, and she knew there were many different ways to be “smart”.

Imagine what would happen if more schools, companies, and organizations thought this way, and the new kinds of engagement, learning, and invention that might take place.

Red had a strong belief that important concepts were discovered through play. This is a common notion in modern preschool education, but certainly isn’t the norm inside most companies, where efficiency and the bottom line rule the day and new ideas suffocate before they get a chance to catch on. It’s perhaps even less of a norm within most university settings, where supporting professors’ work and bringing prestige to the educational institution itself is paramount, so students often get lost in the mix.

Just one walk down ITP’s halls during a spring or fall student show reveals that it’s like no other educational environment in the world. The shows are more than the average tech “demo days” that tend to attract hungry entrepreneurs, recruiters, and investors. They draw in people from every walk of life — toddlers and grandparents, businessmen and artists, dreamers and doers — and the projects represent a diversity of ideas that open the mind to new possibilities.

I sometimes describe ITP to those not familiar with it as “Kindergarten for grownups”, but also love another description I once heard: “Engineering for poets.” Both of those convey the wonderfully fuzzy space between art and technology where so many new and important ideas are born. In this way, Red and her educational philosophies developed both the right and left sides of the brain by teaching artists to code and engineers to empathize.

There is much to be learned from Red’s teaching philosophies — really, a way of thinking. Not just for programs looking to replicate the magic of ITP, but for companies and other organizations and individuals, too. There’s a certain shorthand of understanding that takes place whenever ITP alums encounter each other, as I have during my time working at Google and Facebook. We may not know exactly what background or hard skills each brings to the table, but we know we are likely dealing with an open, curious spirit; a great collaborator; and someone who is human-centered in the way he or she approaches problem solving."
redburns  technology  design  criticism  criticaldesign  margaretstewart  itp  2013  diversity  humanism  humanity  openstudioproject  tcsnmy  lifelongkindergarten  reggioemilia  poetry  accessibility  computersareforpeople 
november 2013 by robertogreco
RADical Design for LEARNING -- Survey Seminar and Practical Action Laboratory
"Wtf is going on? Why are people limping out of 20 years of schooling without directed motivation, a solid internal compass, or a commitment to passionately pursuing their interests? Let's examine why in a cozy, edgy, authentic seminar where we balance theory with real-world action (praxis). We'll study the radical learning greats such as Illich, Papert, and Llewelyn, with focused readings and videos followed by discussion. Whenever possible we'll try to have the authors or their direct students available for Q&A&Q. And through hands-on labs and projects we'll design and enact experience-based transformations, like improvised music, consciousness altering strategies, electronics workshops etc. We can't wait to see you realize your wonderful ideas!"
unschooling  deschooling  education  syllabus  jaysilver  ericrosenbaum  mit  learning  mitmedialab  medialab  lifelongkindergarten  amosblanton  lego  seymourpapert  ivanillich  gracellewelyn  bilalghalib  jefflieberman  making  hackerspaces  lcproject  makerspaces  openstudioproject  grading  rubrics  assessment  diy  notbacktoschoolcamp  johnholt  piaget  mitchresnick  leahbuechley  eleanorduckworth  nuvu  nuvustudio  holeinthewall  sugatamitra  sprout  elsistema  theblueschool  computerclubhouse  drishya  bakhtiarmikhak  sudburyschools  sudburyvalleyschool  samcassat  seanstevens  frostburn  quaker  criticalmass  burningman  paulofreire  quakers  sprout&co  jeanpiaget  syllabi 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Mitchel Resnick 2011 Prize Winner - YouTube
"Mitchel Resnick, Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab, develops new technologies and activities to engage people (especially children) in creative learning experiences, helping them learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. His Lifelong Kindergarten research group developed ideas and technologies underlying the LEGO Mindstorms robotics kits and the Scratch programming environment and online community, used by millions of young people around the world. He also co-founded the Computer Clubhouse project, an international network of more than 100 after-school learning centers where youth from low-income communities learn to express themselves creatively with new technologies."
mit  mitmedialab  mitchresnick  2011  lifelongkindergarten  scratch  education  learning  constructivism  projectbasedlearning  tcsnmy  schools  design  mindstorms  lego  legonxt  wedo  electronics  coding  programming  children  lcproject  teaching  pbl  medialab 
october 2011 by robertogreco
Mitch Resnick: The Role of Making, Tinkering, Remixing in Next-Generation Learning | DMLcentral
"…best learning experiences come when people are actively engaged in designing things, creating things, & inventing things—expressing themselves.

…if we want people to really be fluent w/ new technologies & learn through their activities, it requires people to get involved as makers—to create things.

…best experiences come when…making use of the materials in the world around you, tinkering w/ things…coming up w/ a prototype, getting feedback…iteratively changing it…making new ideas, over & over…adapting to the current situation & the new situations that arise.

In our after school programs, we see many kids who have been unsuccessful in traditional educational settings become incredibly successful when they are given the opportunity to make, tinker, & remix.

…there are lessons for schools from the ways that kids learn outside of schools…

Over time, I do think we need to rethink educational institutions as a place that embraces playful experimentation."
tcsnmy  mitchresnick  mit  mitmedialab  medialab  scratch  mindstorms  lego  informallearning  learning  unschooling  deschooling  schools  play  prototyping  making  doing  remix  remixing  remixculture  self-expression  technology  lcproject  howardrheingold  makers  creators  iteration  iterative  wedo  lifelongkindergarten  education  experimentation  invention  feedback  2011  toshare 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Redesigning Education: Why Can't We Be in Kindergarten for Life? | Co.
"The kindergarten classroom is the design studio. All of the learning activities that take place inside...is freakishly similar to the everyday environment of my design studio in the "real world." In an architectural design studio, we work as an interdisciplinary global team to solve the complex problems of the built environment in a variety of different cultural contexts. We do this most effectively through storytelling--sharing personal experiences--w/ support of digital media & tools. A variety of activities--reflective & collaborative, right-brain & left-brain--happen simultaneously in an open environment. Like the design studio, the kindergarten environment places human interaction above all else."

[from a series: http://www.fastcodesign.com/users/tle ]
kindergarten  lifelongkindergarten  tcsnmy  design  classroomasstudio  schooldesign  learning  lcproject  howwework  howwelearn  cv  teaching  student-centered  learner-centered  toshare  topost  thirdteacher  trungle  reggioemilia 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Redesigning Education: Why Can't We Be in Kindergarten for Life? | Fast Company
"The learner-centered paradigm should extend beyond the kindergarten classroom. Unfortunately, most educational institutions follow a model that creates an impersonal environment where adults, teaching, and authority are at the center. The studio-like environment of the kindergarten classroom succumbs to a rigid structure of disconnected subject-based classrooms and curricula. Naturally, the physical environment parallels this transition, moving from an open, multi-zone learning environment to a prototypical, teacher-centric mode of direct instruction. The collaborative student-teacher team and its dynamic atmosphere are replaced with the "sage-on-the-stage," front-teaching wall model."
tcsnmy  learning  schools  schooling  lcproject  classroomasstudio  teaching  kindergarten  lifelongkindergarten  creativity  collaboration  classrooms  mit  education  design  student-centered  sageonthestage  thirdteacher  unschooling  deschooling  reggioemilia  classroom 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Scratch Lowers Resistance to Programming | Gadget Lab from Wired.com
""Our design philosophy is, don't design something for kids that you don't also find engaging and interesting," says Jay Silver, one of the researchers who created Scratch. Silver works in the Media Lab's "Lifelong Kindergarten" group. So it's not surprising that the environment is fun for adults, too. At the Emerging Technology conference here Monday, a roomful of grownups were playing with the program, creating bouncing kitties and a simple golf game."
scratch  mit  lifelongkindergarten  olpc  programming  learning  edg  education  picoboard  etech 
march 2009 by robertogreco

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