LEARNING WITH MINDSTORMS
Mindstorms is a very useful and highly effective learning tool both inside and outside the classroom. Its colourful bricks provide the initial stimulation. Its user-friendly interface is clear and easy to follow. It promotes learning by 'trial and error' and by 'doing' and encourages frequent 'higher-order' thinking.
Vygotsky would have been thrilled to witness the children increasing their confidence levels and command of the skills with no more than a guiding hand from the teacher. I noted that the more capable children passed on their expertise in a casual manner to those less well able. This was an example of Social Constructivism : "All that they need to succeed is structure, clues, encouragement and so forth"
"Children don't get ideas: they make ideas. Better learning will not come from finding better ways for the teacher to instruct, but from giving the learner better opportunities to construct" So said Seymour Papert on the subject of Constructionism. The "object to think with" provoked by the design of Smart Bird brought about high levels of learning in all the children.
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