Innovation through the Eyes of a Child

I’m currently reading Creating Innovators and so I thought I would share the classic post from 2009 below.

In the first video, Gever Tulley describes our child safety-obsessed culture and the impact this has on the young minds of our children. He then speaks about the different impact you can have by teaching your kids how to play with dangerous stuff. He highlights five dangerous things to let your kids play with, but is working on a book that will highlight 50 dangerous things. Check out the video:

In the second video, Gever Tulley demonstrates the valuable lessons kids learn at his Tinkering School. When given tools, materials and guidance, these young imaginations run wild and creative problem-solving takes over to build unique boats, bridges and even a rollercoaster!

On his blog he lays out the principles of kit-based learning, which are great things for teachers and parents to think about when teaching science to children. Parents have an incredible opportunity to supplement the achievement test-focused learning their kids receive in school, and have fun with their children, if they take on this kind of interactive learning with their kids.

Principles of Kit-based Learning

The goal of any kit must be to teach how to think about the principle concept – the understanding and internalization of the concept comes naturally from the process. Memorizing the gravitational constant is not as useful as grokking the notion of gravity and developing a personal understanding of mass (constant) and weight (varies depending on context).

1. Focus on the quality of the experience first

  • like a story arc, plan for successes and setbacks
  • all stages of the project should be engaging and driven forward by the participants

2. Allow for personal expression within the experience

  • design variability into the project

3. Leave something to be discovered

  • some questions unanswered
  • some capabilities of the kit unexplained
  • some implications unstated

4. Support failure, require tinkering to get it right

  • allow for incorporation of external materials (but don’t require it)
  • instructions should only get you close to a solution, how close depends on the target audience.

5. Focus on a concept, but connect it to the world and the sciences

  • relate it to actual things in the world that the participants can identify and recognize

6. The experience should transition smoothly to tangential or subsequent topics

  • consider the kit as a part of a larger experience
  • avoid a hard definition of “complete” or “finished”

You can find pictures of the first kit, here.

As we look to work our way out of this current crisis, the countries that foster innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship in students alongside reading, writing, and arithmetic will be the counties that earn their place at the top of the economic pyramid. Those that don’t will continue to slide downwards.

For further reading, check out:

Innovation in Education

Creativity versus Literacy

Twitter in the Classroom

Can countries achieve competitive advantage by teaching their kids to be more innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial?

What do you think?

Build a Common Language of Innovation

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One thought on “Innovation through the Eyes of a Child

  1. Pingback: The Importance of Play to Innovation | Braden Kelley

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