“Success is based not only on what you know or how much you know, but on your ability think and act creatively.”
-Dr. Mitchel Resnick
The words above by Dr. Mitchel Resnick, MIT professor of learning research and director of the Lifelong Kindergarten research group at the MIT Media Lab, speak to a growing movement within our society to foster a more creative generation of learners. Challenging traditional ideas of education and learning, Resnick encourages young learners to engage in a creative process where they create projects based on their ideas, play with their creations, share those creations with their others, and reflect on their experiences; ultimately, leading students to imagine novel ideas and new projects.
Throughout this process, students engage with, develop and test their own ideas; push social and personal boundaries; experiment through trial and error; and, get input from others to expand upon what they have learned and connect it to new ideas and projects. Resnick has centered his approach on two technologies: Crickets and Scratch.
Crickets is a sensory-based technology that responds to many types of input including sound, light, movement, and music. The technology is similar to Lego Mindstorm robot construction kits which allow children to design and build their own working robots. Unlike Lego Mindstorm kits, Crickets encourages a broad range of projects, allowing users to go beyond the construction of robots to create a variety of sensory-based inventions such as musical sculptures, interactive clothing and jewelry, and even alarm clocks that wake you up when the sun reaches a certain point in the sky! Crickets are now available commercially as part of a kit, called PicoCricket Kits which include items such as Lego bricks, wiring and electrical parts, as well as arts and crafts supplies like Pom-Poms and googly eyes. With the aim of encouraging users to go beyond traditional robotics, PicoCricket Kits foster a more diverse construction of projects and strives to entice a broader range of children and learners.
Like Crickets, Scratch affords children the opportunity to explore, create and control various elements of their world. However, where Crickets focuses on the physical world, Scratch ventures into the virtual, online world of computer programming. Scratch allows children to explore online media and create their own interactive games, stories, and animations through bock-based coding. In the classroom, Scratch has become the next big thing for information sharing and project presentation (imagine a 21st century PowerPoint where students can interact with and manipulate all elements of their presentation). There is also a collaborative component to Scratch. Users have access to a virtual community of other Scratchers’ work and ideas. They can also network with each other to collaborate on projects, share ideas and offer expertise through the Scratch website (http://scratch.mit.edu).
Together, technologies such as Crickets and Scratch provide the next generation of learners with new opportunities to create, share and learn in the 21st century world of technology and innovation. Remember, it is not what you know, or even how much, but your ability to use what you know creatively that leads to success.
See Dr. Resnick’s “Sowing the Seeds for a More Creative Society” (Link included below) for more information on Crickets, Scratch and using technology to foster creativity in children and young learners.
Resnick, M. (2007). Sowing the Seeds for a More Creative Society. Learning and Leading with Technology, 18-22. Retrieved from https://web.media.mit.edu/~mres/papers/Learning-Leading.pdf
Also visit the following websites for more information:
Lifelong Kindergarten: http://llk.media.mit.edu