Creativity and Kindergarten – Lessons for Lifelong Learning

June 7, 2009

Kindergarten used to be about play and stories and friends and sharing. More recently, it is about doing worksheets and preparing to take tests – i.e. it is becoming more like school. Maybe this is bad.

Why can’t school be more like Kindergarten instead? Of course the next question I would like to pose, is why can’t adult work be more like Kindergarten, and involve lifelong learning and more games, play and stories?  One step at a time though.

Even the US Military states that they require innovation and creativity – “We seek to foster a culture of innovation.” National Defense Strategy, March 2005 – but yet, they continue to acquire/purchase standard, run-of-the-mill training and education products, which perpetuate this system of  regimented, standardized, one-size-fits-all process.

Kindergarten students playfully create stories, develop and refine their their abilities to think creatively and work collaboratively, precisely the abilities that most adults need to succeed and achieve satisfaction in their careers in the 21st Century – so what’s the problem?  Why can’t adult learnng follow the known, and easily followed prescription that Kindergarten teachers follow:

Spiral learning process where students imagine what they want to do, create a project based on their ideas, play with said creations, share their ideas and creations with others, and reflect on their experiences — all of which leads them to imagine new ideas, processes and projects. This is ideal for the fast-paced society we live in today we faster and better solutions are required just to keep pace, and firms are pressed by Market Conditions for better and cheaper and faster solutions daily. Maybe we could follow the “prototyping” cycle which ourbest  Kindergartens are using!

Simply put, if we could adapt this learning process, and utilize different types of tools, media and materials, many adults could become lifelong learners, and many organizations would benefit from the tremendous increase of productivity as a result of the increased utilization of creativity and imagination.  I wonder if any organization, say with 2.5 million active members with a clearly defined mission across multiple complex Areas of Operation could ever benefit from this type of Transformational Training and Education – 21 Century Tactics, Techniques and Procedures?

Sources used: Edutopia, June/July 2009, Page 10, “Kindergarten for Life: Let’s keep teaching creativity throughout school and adulthood” by Mitchel Resnick, Director of MIT’s Media Lab. What you thought, I made all this up? This is grounded research 🙂

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eLearning and ISD’s roles. Things change.

November 4, 2008

Well sports fans, instead my normal “on topic” post this week in CCK08, I decided to let the tools do the talking. I mean what better way to show ( I meant show off) what I have been learning to do with LinkedIN – on my favorite new Web 2.0 collaboration and networking tools

http://tinyurl.com/6jfx9z

That short url, expands out into this ( http://www.linkedin.com/answers/career-education/education-schools/CAR_BUE/355942-15796213?browseIdx=0&sik=1225840476011&goback=.amq )

and will show my currently open question posted to LinkedIN – about the changing role of the ISD in the future of eLearning. Yes, it could be construed that I am letting my network of friends, colleagues and online pals help me “do my work” for the CCK course, but there were no rules, so no harm, no foul. Just looking to learn what I can, and maybe that will shape my thoughts on the topic.



Connectivism – Learning Theory or Tool for Learning (Friedman’s paper)

October 3, 2008

Connectivism – Learning Theory or Tool for Learning

Mark Friedman

October 2, 2008

 

Apologies to start this informal paper with a quote, but it really is my abstract…

 

“The idea of learning through digital connections and peer collaboration enhanced by technologies driving Web 2.0. Users/Learners are empowered to search, create, and collaborate in order to fulfill intrinsic needs to learn new information.” (eLearning Guild, E-Learning 2.0 “Learning in a Web 2.0 World”, Wexler et al, 23 Sept 2008)

 

I think that Connectivism helps explain why certain Web 2.0 technologies actually work – and help people achieve desired learning. Obviously, we are all told that tools don’t solve problems, but that people do. Using these tools in a creative and innovative ways is how people vary and some leverage these tools differently than others can.  What excited me about the deep thinking that CCK08 has helped me perform over the past four weeks, is mostly surrounding the results of an integrated network – what I have begun to refer to as a Personal Learning Environment/Network (PLE).

 

“The pipe is more important than the content within the pipe… A real challenge for any learning theory is to actuate known knowledge at the point of application.” (http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm, “A Learning Theory for the Digital Age”, Siemens, 12 Dec 2004)

 

This quote by George Siemens resonated with me, in that it brought together my prior knowledge of McCluhan (Medium is the Message) with my a-priori knowledge that LinkedIN’s primary value had to lay in the business/social network aspect of the service. I have actually utilized this free tool, at the point of application, so to speak, as a last minute source for what needs to be called market research, and possibly even Subject Matter Expertise. So whether or not I had given any thought to what a Learning Theory was, before CCK08 began, really becomes less relevant than my realization that my prior use of Facebook, Second Life, Twitter, AIM, Google Docs & Reader and LinkedIN…. essentially I have understood how these tools are actually learning tools and how they can be combined to form a fluid PLE.

 

I do want to spend some time in CCK08 exploring the idea that shear acceleration of information growth in our society is bound to have a profound impact on our Personal Learning – just like it is on our formal learning constructs. Today’s kindergartners will graduate high school facing 128 times as much information as today. Obviously, we need disruptive technologies, as well as wonderful innovation tools just to be able to handle the enormous information overload. Communication skills, creative skills and analytic skills are all three going to be ever more important (and sometimes I think more rare than they should be, but that’s a reflection on our formal learning institutions!).

 

Some questions have come to mind so far in this course, including what are the real implications of Connectivism within society, and specifically within the Educational Community. Of course, I have posted that question in LinkedIN already to attempt to get the audience’s opinion on that (smile). I also agree with a fellow classmate, Tom Whyte, who posted a thought, of “what number of participants in a network are required to make it valid and/or effective”? Is there something magical about the 100-node network? What advantages are there is growing from 125 up to 175 people? These are things I would still like to research and learn about.

 

Ending with a pertinent quote, from my LinkedIN Q&A, posted at 7am today, and answered within 4 hours (i.e. what a great Web 2.0 network!):

 

“What then constitutes the safest and most effective learning environment? Some believe that you have to contextualize learning to achieve efficiency. Other believe that abstract learning is better, followed by vocational training as required. These issues are independent of the growth in the volume of information available to be learned. Selection criteria of the content to be offered for learning is not the same as the activity of learning. However, you correctly imply that it is a nonsense to distinguish between theories of cognition and theories of learning. How the mind acquires signals, attributes meaning both denotative and connotative, and operationalizes activity based on those meanings is a complex but single process representing the ability to learn and adapt behavior based on that learning.” (David Marshall, 2 Oct 2008)

 


Informal PLE – Using LinkedIN’s Q&A

September 23, 2008

For the last two months, I have become actively engaged in using LinkedIN’s Question & Answer feature. I have posted what I think are interesting questions, and watched as the various users posted their own answers over a 7-day period. At the conclusion, I rate which ones I consider GOOD, and then am able to select which (if any) is the BEST one. I have created at least 5-10 new contacts in the eLearning and Gaming areas based on this effort (since it does take time, thought, and energy, this must qualify as a work effort, right?) – and have seen literally dozens of new perspectives being voiced in these answers.

Friends of mine continue to tell me just how “powerful blogging is” and “that I should post more” – but in my mind, instead of having a one-way posting on my blog (here) – I can use this LinkedIN  feature and spend the same amount of time and get guaranteed high-quality responses. I have only small ego on this blog, and understand that I am not going to have an audience of 1000 or 10,000 anytime soon – not sure I need to. But using Q&A on LinkedIN, I am reaching 125+ first level contacts, and about 18,000 second level ones (i.e. Friends of friends). This may not be online learning, but I am sure gaining a lot of valuable insights, and sharing an equal amount of insights — so I am hard pressed not to consider this my private learning environment/network.

So this begs the question “Is this use of contacts, both known and semi-unknown, a powerful new learning network?”  I think so.