Term 1 has finally concluded (phew!) and to start these Easter holidays Casa Hurley has been hit with the loom craze. In fact it would not be too far from the truth to say that my children have become bona fide loomatics in a very short space of time.
Early Saturday afternoon our eldest was out with J helping with the shopping and during that expedition a box of the colourful little brace elastics was obtained. By 5pm I’d been asked to build a ‘Knitting Nancy’. By 6pm the boys were checking out Youtube videos while they worked, experimenting with different ways to weave the bits together. By 7pm they had begrudgingly cleared away their stuff so we could eat dinner and a whole new jargon was being spoken around the kitchen table. The concentration levels are intense, creativity is virtually fizzing around the room, and the kids are so involved it’s verging on obsessive behaviour.
Let me be clear. This is not a gloating dad posting about his genius children. Let me tell you what this is.
This is the real life that education wants to imitate.
This is an example of young minds being engaged and taking learning into their own hands. They have enough materials, and access to knowledge (both online and in house) at their disposal in order to do things and then do more things and each time do them better.
This is a naturally occurring example of what Sugata Mitra observed in his ‘Hole In The Wall’ experimentation. It’s what he hopes to replicate in his ‘School in the cloud’ project. It’s what made the Khan Academy a darling of the tech world and underpins every wiki, blog, and website that promotes the concept of a ‘flipped classroom’.
This may also be lightning in a bottle and extremely hard to duplicate when the subject matter is more closely tied to the school curriculum. It’s no accident that the best examples of this behaviour appear in our household when the school term is out of the way. Nevertheless, this is what the most progressive thinkers in education are trying to promote.
Now that you know, my advice is to keep an eye out for it and encourage it by not getting in its way too much. That said, I also advise that you have enough of an involvement that the ‘engagement’ doesn’t actually get out of control in terms of time and money. I expect the ‘loomy lunacy’ will burn itself out soon enough and, by contrast, a flipped classroom should ideally be a long, slow burn.
For the record, I’m writing this post on Monday afternoon having just returned home from watching the LEGO movie with the boys. I have one small corner of the table to myself. The rest of it is covered in little plastic bricks and every now and then one of the boys will sing “Everything is Awesome!” or blurt out “SPACESHIP!”
It’s flipping hilarious.