Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wooden Blocks and Computer Games

     I attended a Reggio Emilia class at Bank Street College a few years ago and what impressed me (beside her philosophy) was the class visit to City & Country School in NYC.  This school was founder by Caroline Pratt who believed that play is a child's natural and most meaningful way of learning.  She rejected the idea of a fixed curriculum and let the children freely choose their play projects.  Ms Pratt is the inventor on unit blocks (handmade wooden blocks) that are found in almost every pre-school and kindergarten classroom.  Through the use of collaboration/problem based learning she felt children would work together as a group to solve a problem.  The materials used at the school are very basic starting with blocks-paper-crayons and clay.  Ms. Pratt knew that social interaction was important to learning and understanding the world.  The importance was placed on the group working together, this reminded me of what Prof. K was talking about in class last night and the group of gamers that worked together to solve a problem, as well as the article "Life in the Silo".  The article spoke of how knowledge is composed among and between people.  How much we can retrieve from our head is nothing compared to when we can share the knowledge.  The computer makes the ability to share this information mind boggling, yet most classrooms do not take advantage of this opportunity.  I feel blocks and the computer share the idea of working together o solve a problem, a skill needed for real  life.

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