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Going Back to Kindergarten…

I have always thought that to learn something (a skill, an instrument, a language, you name it), you needed to be methodical about how to approach it. I always envied those who could learn to play an instrument by simply doodling with it or playing “by ear.” The same goes for languages. I could never really grasp those skills organically. I always need to have an empiric approach.

Part of my learning journey is to come out of that comfort zone and simply try to learn by doing…not over-thinking.

As part of a Harvard class, “Designing for Learning by Creating,” taught by MIT alum Karen Brennan, my class had the pleasure of hearing Mitch Resnick speak about the Scratch program he helped develop at MIT. This was on the heels of our class creating and presenting our own Scratch projects. Here’s a link to mine…don’t expect to be impressed, but at least I tried.


 Mitch Resnick and Karen Brennan at Harvard Graduate School of Education

Mitch Resnick and Karen Brennan at Harvard Graduate School of Education

I wondered how children were so adept at learning this program and yet, it was taking some of us hours to create a 30 second game or simulation to present. Then I heard Dr. Resnick speak about the learning that takes place in children and the mode in which he learn. He likened the ease of learning children possess comes from their approach: lots of experimentation, color, activity, creation, and a lack of fear of failure. We should all go back to kindergarten! Right…

mitch kindergarten

Maybe my problem is that I never went to kindergarten–I started first grade at age 6 in England, not speaking a word of English. Note: a moment of epiphany…this explains so much about me. I did not play with blocks, draw, or play. Perhaps I missed out on one of life’s great rights of passage?

Time for redemption! Lots of this happening in Karen Brennan’s class in T550.

T550 lawn Flickr DASH2014

Student discussions behind Longfellow Hall, from the T550 Flickr Page


If you missed Dr. Resnick’s TED talk, it’s available here on YouTube. 


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