At this point, despite some problems, the kids from the Children’s Home, in a certain way, they already feel comfortable with the Etoys and Sugar environment. They know how to take photographs and videos, import and use them in their book, enlarge and reduce images inside Etoys (the halo), duplicate them, use the Supply Box to import items that they can use, etc.
Something extraordinary so far is that little awakening of creativity that is still in process. In addition, another amazing thing, are those questions that have been generated in childrens:
- Can we make our school activities in these computers? (Asks a little boy)
This question is very valuable and interesting because it is through the kids who started this change to a different education through new technologies and arts, with the effective integration of both (technology and arts) and not simply as a course that does not do too much, as it happens currently (of course, in schools that can afford to have a center with computers or other similar tools).
- Can i make a game? really? I want to make a game! (Asks another little boy)
This is one of the most important things that have happened. Why? Because here comes the issue of motivation, being able to create their own game, motivate them so much that they could be hours and hours learning how to do their game. Using this motivation to transform education is invaluable and in my opinion, the potential tools to achieve this are the new technologies, specifically in this case, the game production.
- Wow! I want to do the same! (A little boy comment)
Again we enter to the subject of motivation, but this time through the simulations for learning. As Alan Kay said, is much more fun and productive learning through simulations. For example, to better understand the story of the 35 camels i created a simple simulation where the kids could interact with this little story to understand and analyze it better, my attention was on how they love to move the camel with the joystick, everyone wanted to move it!
- Will the school let us use computers in class? I think not … (A little girl comment)
One of the biggest obstacles i encountered on this path is the vertical mindset of the school, a process which I believe will take a long time to change and need everyone’s effort. This is like the activity of the particles in Etoys, we have to go spreading one by one to the people all over the city (and the world 😉 on this new form of creative education through new technologies and arts.
What is next
Now comes the moment of a great challenge to integrate older kids and make a game with Etoys. Through the book “The Man Who Calculated” we were seeing some basic things to achieve interactivity, but the truth is that this activity (scripts) has some complications to understand some concepts (this is normal and i expected some of these “problems”), so i thought it is a good idea to make the Ping Pong game (thanks to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).
I think through a project like this in Etoys (the game of Ping Pong) we will address many important concepts not only in the technical part (programming logic, gravity, etc..), but also concepts of organization and planning of our project.
Contact with students of the University who are coursing the first semester.
What is next
This Saturday at 8:30 A.M. We will have a workshop with these students to explore the Xo, Sugar and some applications like Etoys and Scratch. Showing the potential of these and other activities and verifying the perceptions of the students. Do you think we can generate creative knowledge through these activities? How?. In addition to the research objective, another important goal is to generate interest in students to create a platform for research, exploration and production environment for new technologies to creative education.
In addition to this, there are two extra activities that i hope to summarize and organize efficiently, in a few days I’ll have more news about it. I want to finish this post with some thoughts of Seymour Papert that i just saw in this website [http://dailypapert.com]:
“Any adult who thinks one of these games is easy need only sit down and try to master one,” he writes. “Most are hard, with complex information–as well as technique–to be mastered.” Video games empower children “to test out ideas about working within prefixed rules and structures in a way few other toys are capable of doing” and “teach children what computers are beginning to teach adults–that some forms of learning are fast-paced, immensely compelling, and rewarding.”