Playing, Building, Flourishing

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.

Photo Credit

Robots in Action

Writing Week: Day 4

We are moving to the end of the Writing Week in the Faculty of Health at the University of Canberra. Today staff had an opportunity to attend a workshop facilitated by Coralie McCormack.

Coralie’s work in the Teaching and Learning Centre at the University includes advising staff about Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) programs and projects, working with Associate Deans of Education in ALTC related work and supporting staff in the preparation of applications for the ALTC.

Coralie’s role in bringing people together to discuss and explore learning and teaching resonates with another event today. Ethan Zuckerman, co-founder of the not-for-profit online news service, Global Voices, a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, was a guest on Radio National’s Future Tense program presented by Antony Funnell.

Creating the opportunity for colleagues in the faculty of health is a microcosm of the Polyglot Internet discussions stimulated by Ethan Zuckerman:

One of the things that I’ve been noticing in my work through Global Voices and my work at Berkman Center, is just the proliferation of different languages online. We started referring to this as the polyglot Internet. And it seems to me that much of what we’d like to be able to do with the Internet, which is to say build communication between people who don’t already know each other, how do the trends perceive what people are thinking and feeling in other parts of the world, getting other people’s perspectives and views of events and such, requires us to take very seriously this problem of translation. Because people are putting up content in all sorts of different languages, and while there’s more on the Internet every day, for every one of us we can actually understand a smaller percentage of it.

I wonder if this approach can be used as a way to discuss the disciplined insights that are generated in a Writing Week. It seems to me that we may need a Reading Week to explore the output of a Writing Week and that this may lead to writing workshops. Louise Ada gave the Faculty a great lead in this regard earlier this week.

For those of you have time for video workshops here is Ethan Zuckerman video on the ‘history of the Internet in 5 minutes’

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