I listened to Radio National’s Future Tense program this morning.
By good fortune I heard Daniel Donahoo talk about the Robots in School project.
I was fascinated by Daniel’s conversation with Antony Funnell on Future Tense. I followed up some links to the project and read a description that resonated very strongly with me:
The study uses storytelling and illustration to explore, across several dimensions, how children might like to interact with robots in a variety of situations related to school and learning. In addition to capturing wonderfully inventive, vivid narratives and robot concepts, we’re looking for insights into how children think about the intersections of play, creativity, learning, and social interaction – insights that could inform next-generation learning content and technologies, and more generally, how we think about where and how learning could happen.
This took me to the Lego Learning Institute and its exploration of play … and onto Lego Mindstorms.
Ian Schulte has provided some additional information about the Robot project. I liked discovering that:
Across the stories we’ve received, kids are quick to recognize their creative and sophisticated thinking skills, and also are incredibly aware of the limitations of their “kidness” where creative expression is concerned. Those limitations can be stifling. While robots might not help kids be more creative (though that’s quite possibly the case), they can certainly remove a major obstacle to creative exploration and risk-taking by helping kids refine, re-frame and communicate their ideas.
I was even more interested to read that:
While we’ve focused specifically on kids in this study, the findings ring true far more broadly. As a parting note, and very much related to the theme of personal empowerment and self-expression, a recent 60 Minutes episode provided a very moving view of the transformative impact of technology on people with autism, essentially unlocking communications possibilities that weren’t previously possible.
(More news of transformative impact can be found at ICare4Autism in this post)
This week I have been thinking about Makerspaces. It was wonderful to catch a tantalising glimpse of work underway at Latitude Research host to the Robot Project and discover the awe inspiring diversity of media projects there.
Robots in Action