Old School

My son was recently assigned a project on the state of Washington for school. He decided he wanted to program his Lego robot to draw the state of Washington. The teacher sent a list of suggestions like make a brochure, bake something using the state fruit, or create a poster about the state. Programming a robot wasn’t on the list.

Micah searched for example programs that make Lego robots draw. He came up empty. So we decided to ask Dr. Keith (a recent Drexel grad in robotics and good friend) to point us in the right direction. Keith’s first question for Micah was if we wanted the robot to write with ketchup, chocolate or a pen. Thankfully Micah thought a pen sounded like a good idea.

One of the links Keith sent was to this article. I find myself excited and frustrated when I read articles like this.

“A key component of Papert’s educational philosophy is self-directed learning. As kids build cool things in Mathland, they naturally encounter problems which require creative mathematical solutions. As a result, formerly abstract mathematical concepts take on a real meaning, and there are tangible rewards for tinkering with these concepts.”

Really smart people have been thinking about good education for a long time. Why hasn’t education changed more in the last 40 years? Our hope for the Workshop is to create the space where kids and adults can ‘tinker with these concepts.’ We have a lot to learn from the Old School.