Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Learning Creative Learning

Creative Learning - Week 1
Former student and learning pal Nick Smith found the Creative Learning course from the MIT media lab. It didn't take too long for me to shout "I'm in!" and join the par-tay.  The leader of the course is Mitch Resnick, one of the leaders of Scratch development.
I never did get around to writing my reflection of the nice Python course I took from Rice on Coursera in the fall. So when I saw Dave Ferguson's reflection on week 1, it  was the prompt I needed to try to be better about keeping record of this course.

Video - First seminar (youtube of a Google Hangout)
Media Lab model for
creative thinking spiral
  • overview of online component. Materials by email, idea of the weekly seminar (mostly panel discussions), Google+ for the course and small groups. (25,000 students)
  •  Resnick: anecdote about current state of learning - fun stuff is for after school. School is for drill and information delivery. This course should be about rethinking learning.
  • Question traditional model, how to prepare people to be adaptive learners.
  • Inspiration from kindergarten. [Ironically was talking to a K teacher this weekend about how Michigan's new all day kindergarten is making it much more academic.]
  • Goal is to provide information and resources, but also a chance to create and make. We'll be using Scratch for that. (Brief explanation about Scratch.)
  • Great story about a scratch user who went from making a card, making and sharing sprites, working as a consultant making sprites for others, to a teacher making a sprite tutorial, to a collaborator on an adventure game.
  • Course will have weekly readings, Mon morning (10 am ET) panel conversations, design & learning activities, small group discussions. Overview of the course week by week.
  • He also shared the Marshmallow Challenge, which also has a TED talk.
A little long winded. I'd watch Resnick's TEDx talk first and you'll hear a lot more of his ideas in a lot less time. If you have more time, watch the Marshmallow Challenge TED talk.

Article All I Really Need to Know (about Creative Thinking) I Learned (by Studying How Children Learn) in Kindergarten (pdf), Mitchel Resnick
  • Expansion of the Imagine Spiral framework above.
  • "The goal is not to nurture the next Mozart or Einstein, but to help everyone become more creative in the ways they deal with everyday problems."
  • "As we develop new technologies for children, our hope is that children will continually surprise themselves (and surprise us too) as they explore the space of possibilities."
  • This excellent advice from 12 year olds for kids about to start a Crickets workshop. (The MIT media lab project that inspired Lego Mindstorms.)


  1. John:

    What a cheery surprise to discover that I had any small part in your writing about the MIT Learning Creative Learning course

    If someone asks why I blog--not that they often do--I usually say it's to think out loud about things I'm doing or things that interest me. While it's great to have someone read and comment, even without that kind of interaction, the writing and reflecting have paid off for me.

    It's a mainly text-based version of the 12-year-old's sketchbook for ideas.

    See you at the MOOC.

  2. Oh my gosh, the syllabus looks amazing!!! I am usually somewhat suspect when the word 'creativity' is used but in this case it seems like a really in-depth inquiry into what the *actions* of creativity look like. I'll be really interested in hearing how you relate what you learn in this course to your experience and thoughts about math education.

  3. p.s. I see that Papert's Mindstorms figures heavily on the reading list. I just started reading it yesterday!!!

  4. Hey,
    I'm on this course too. Its been difficult to keep up with because of a crazily busy week at school, but I'm really enjoying it so far, and there's been some great links on the reading list.
    I'm still not sure how exactly the grouping should be working at the moment. How's your group?

  5. There hasn't been much group activity - yet. But I'm behind, too. On the weekly vids they talk about spontaneous communities forming - maybe those are what we have to find.