Look at what preK-6 Mexican teachers did in my recent PBL 360 workshop in Guadalajara. This was their first experience with engineering, physical computing, and programming. They designed, created, and programmed these “birds” in less than two hours with the Hummingbird Robotics Kit and SNAP!
The prompt was simple…
“Make a Bird. Singing and dancing is appreciated.”
There was no instruction. The entire project was completed in under two hours – roughly the equivalent of two class periods.
My work continues to demonstrate the limits of instruction, the power of construction, and the Piagetian notion that “knowledge is a consequence of experience.” There is simply no substitute for experience. Constructive technology and computing amplify human potential and expand the range, breadth, and depth of possible projects. This is critical since the project should be the smallest unit of concern for educators.
Look at these short video clips sharing the teachers’ projects and compare what is possible during an educator’s first or second computing experience with the unimaginative and pedestrian “technology” professional development typically offered. We need to raise our standards substantially.
“You cannot behave as if children are competent if you behave as if teachers are incompetent.” – Gary Stager
The following videos are unedited clips of each group sharing their project. Start listing the plethora of curricular standards satisfied by a single project of this kind.
Operatic Diva Bird from Gary Stager on Vimeo.
The Parrott from Gary Stager on Vimeo.
Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde Robot Pengin from Gary Stager on Vimeo.
Three-Function Bird from Gary Stager on Vimeo.
Singing Bird with Creepy Eyes from Gary Stager on Vimeo.
About the author
Gary Stager, Ph.D. is the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute for educators, coauthor of Invent To Learn – Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, and curator of the Seymour Papert archive site, DailyPapert.com. You may learn more about him and reach out here.
The Hummingbirds Robotics Kit is also available from Amazon.com.
Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is the author of Twenty Things to Do with a Computer – Forward 50, co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at DailyPapert.com. Learn more about Gary here.