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 🙂


Wired up – Tuned in or Tuned out?

October 10, 2008

I was so taken by this brief article in August, that I organized a panel discussion around this topic at an upcoming educational conference to be held in Virginia Beach, VA, 21-24 March 2009 titled “Stories, Games, and New Technologies for Digital Natives”. More details in a future post…

“Generation IM – Getting through to today’s teched-out children”
August 2008
Source: Instructor Magazine

Jacob is your average American 11-year-old. He has a television and a Nintendo DS in his bedroom; his family also has two computers, a wireless Internet connection, and a PlayStation 3. His parents rely on e-mail, instant messaging, and Skype for daily communication, and they’re avid users of Tivo and Netflix. Jacob has asked for a Wii for his upcoming birthday. His selling point? “Mom and Dad, we can use the Wii Fit and race Mario Karts together!”

Most likely, you teach a classroom full of Jacobs. Peggy Sheehy knows what that’s like from firsthand experience. “Outside of school, our children are bombarded with digital input—and they have been
since the day they were born,” she says.

As an instructional technology facilitator at Suffern Middle School in New York, Sheehy knows how tech has fundamentally changed the world our students live in—and perhaps our students themselves.

“Compared to us, I believe their brains have developed differently,” says Sheehy. “If we teach them the way we were taught, we’re not serving them well.”

And that’s just what many teachers struggle with: How do we teach 21st-century skills to a generation of digital-media natives? What does it mean for our teaching methods and curricula—let alone how we relate to our students? And who are these kids, anyway?