Learning Like a Kindergarten Student

Posted: February 14, 2013 in ETmooc
Tags: , , ,

This post combines two Mooc’s. At #etmooc we are discussing digital storytelling, and the other Mooc I am participating in is the  MITMedialab course on creative learning, which began with the concept of kindergarten learning. So over the last week I have been using the kindergarten approach to learning, in order to come up with the best way to tell a story about my son and his experiences at kindergarten. I have been creating, experimenting, and exploring with different digital creation tools introduced to me by #etmooc  like Prezi and Mindomo  and also Thinglink and  VUVOX.

I had the opportunity this week to just be creative. No deadlines, requirements or expectations. It’s a bit unsettling to be so irresponsible but I was doing it for science, or at least to learn about the science of learning.

My inspiration for this story is my son Harrison who is now six.

Hcloseup

I have taken him to school everyday since preschool. This may seem like a fairly routine task, but with Harrison everyday is an adventure. He has some special needs, nothing too severe, but enough that moving him from point A to point B is a major undertaking. He’s often stubborn and defiant, but sometimes scared and uncertain about how to navigate the world. This makes the task of getting him to school everyday quite challenging.

Last year at the beginning of preschool he didn’t want to enter the classroom or even the building on some days. He refused to line up with the other kids unless he was the first one in line. He became anxious standing there with the other kids until we figured out that giving him something to occupy his attention, like a squeeze toy in his hand, settled him down. We had to work with him for a few months till he was comfortable lining up and would consistently go into his classroom with the other students.

Once he finally got with the program, I started taking pictures of Harrison every day  just before he entered school. It started in preschool, and I have continued this year during kindergarten.

1 Harrison School - 119

The pictures are interesting because they capture Harrison’s wide range of emotions each day, and every photo is from a different location around the school with differnt people in the background.

I think the pictures tell an interesting story about what it’s like to be a young child starting school. You can read the emotions on his and the other students faces as they contemplate the day ahead of them. I’m not sure if Harrison will appreciate this video journal of a small slice of his life, but I wish someone had done it for me.

First day of school

The first tool I used to exhibit the photo’s was  VUVOX.

Here’s he VUVOX version of my story.

You can only put a link to a VUVOX collage in a wordpress.com blog. You also can’t export your collage to your hard drive. They only provide a link to their site if you want to email it or send it to social media. It didnt like that aspect since I like to take ownership of my creations. I also didn’t like the time it took to upload the photo’s to their server. I desktop application that used their technology would be welcome.

I liked the way you are able to make a scrolling collage of your photo’s with VUVOX. You also can place hotspots anywhere on the photo’s that link to websites or other media like audio or video. I wanted to add some video segments I had to the presentation, but Apple quicktime videos would never load correctly. I am still searching for an inexpensive way to convert the .mov movies to flash video.

Since none of the other creation tools met my criteria of being inexpensive, easy to use, and allowing you to keep your project, I moved on to iMovie which I own and know how to use fairly well.

iMovie has its own limitations, but I was able to create a video that properly told my story. I even found time to play with GarageBand to create my own original soundtrack.

Here’s my Digital story about Harrison as he starts school everyday:

Just to finish the story. I continue to take photo’s everyday. So the video is “to be continued”.

Harrison has been adapting well. On days we are late, he is able to enter the school on his own and go right to his classroom. It may seem like a small step for most kids, but its a giant leap for Harrison.

He is getting used to kindergarten and learning. I don’t think kindergarten in his school is exactly like Mitchell Resnick describes it in “All I Really Need to Know (About Creative Thinking) I Learned (By Studying How Children Learn) in Kindergarten”. I feel like his preschool was more about designing, creating, experimenting, and exploring. His kindergarten is more like first grade. More traditional schooling.

I hope he doesn’t stop using the kindergarten approach to learning. I agree with Resnick’s ideas and will make a point to follow those ideals for my own learning and for teaching Harrison in the future. It’s a useful philosophy if your a kid trying to learn the ropes of kindergarten or an adult trying to tell a story.

Whats your story?

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