Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Learning how to use a Smart Phone and Microscope?

How to Encourage Learning?

Dale Daugherty is one of the founders of the Makerspace Movement. He has helped create environments where children create and learn with tools at the same time. He delivered an interesting keynote about the importance of letting children explore and make things at the SXSWedu conference in 2013. The talk was titled ‘Magic of Making – Engaging students as makers’.

He described how the future of education will be more informal, will involve family and friends. It will be centered around the individual. He described three important characteristics to encourage learning among students which were,

1)          Passion
2)          Process
3)          Place

How to Create a Maker Mindset?

The student must be deeply curious about the thing, he or she wants to make. He must then understand that, there is a process to create the things he or she wants to create. And finally you must create a place or environment where the child is allowed to freely work on this interest and have all the tools to do so.

How did we learn how to use a smartphone?

Dale Daugherty also brought up another question, ‘How did so many people learn how to use the smart phone.’ The smartphone is an incredibly complex device that needs constant updates and re-skilling in use and basic technical prowess.

But most people that have a smartphone, do not take out the manual to learn how to use it. Rather they ask friends and family and learn how to use the device through observation.

Understanding the Microscope

Chris also spoke about, how children are taught to use the microscope in most countries. They are shown a diagram with a label describing every part. Then they are expected to rote learn this and remember everything for a test. There is most often only one best way to use a microscope. The child knows that is not the truth.

There may be another approach. The child can be given a chance to explore the microscope on their own time after being given a brief description about how to use it effectively. Then the child will make inferences about the usefulness about the object based on his explorative use of it. Yes, I agree some primary training and instruction is necessary. He will understand how to use it, much longer in this way. But how will remembering the name of a particular part of a microscope or being able to describe how to use the microscope through reading, help him use the microscope any better?

It is like telling a person to become an expert in footballer, by reading hundreds' and thousands' of books on football.

Let us Learn Together
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