Thursday, March 22, 2012

Best Use of Computers in Education

I am a believer in hands on, social, experiential, interest led, play-based learning.  I came across this article a couple years ago and thought it was an amazing demonstration of these basic concepts.  The key aspects being the children are in a group, working together, they are led by their own interests, with minimal adult guidance, and are using trial and error to figure stuff out.

One of the biggest hurdles in using technology is that the majority of the time a person is using the computer or device by themselves.  Piaget and Vygotsky were both psychologists that spent a lot of time studying and forming theories on childhood development.  Piaget's emphasis was on action and experimentation while Vygotsky said that understanding and knowledge originated from social interactions.  The astounding results described in this article can be explained by the fact that both sensory and social interaction were blended.   Groups of children worked together to figure out hard problems.  They were able to discuss what they were doing and build off each other's experience to gain greater understanding and games were able to give the children sensory feedback that they could use to test their understanding.

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