Books I've read

Lifelong Kindergarten by Mitchel Resnick

Date read: 2023-05-22. How strongly I recommend it: 8/10

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

The book reflects on so many things personally, especially how I learned and started coding when I was a kid. There are a lot of observations on how kids learn, techniques to design the environment for students and lessons that you can apply to your learning strategy. Resnick also shares his design decisions and philosophy behind building his project Scratch, so the book is recommended not only for learners and educators but also for developers.

My Notes

#book #learning #education #teach

Tools facilitate our ability in two ways 1. They extend our bodies, allowing us to do otherwise difficult or impossible things. 2. They expand our minds, facilitating ideas that otherwise be inconceivable.

Creativity = original ideas that have value; Original ideas come from remixing others' work.

Most schools prioritize teaching students to follow instructions and rules rather than helping them develop their own ideas, goals, and strategies.

Creativity is a long-term process; it's not come in a flash of insight.

Creativity is a combination of curious exploration, playful experimentation, and systematic investigation iterated on many creative learning cycles (imagine, create, play, share, reflect, imagine, ...)

Learning by creating things is one of the most organic ways of learning. It allows students to see how things are developed over time and why things are designed the way it is. But most importantly, It's fun, and it helps them develop their own learning process.

“Technology is anything invented after you were born, everything else is just stuff.” - Alan Kay

Small wins in the initial stages of learning or exploring a new subject are crucial for students. These early accomplishments help them get the feeling of what success looks like, which in turn fuels their motivation to delve deeper into the topic.

Joy of building, pride of creation. - LEGO Slogan

Making the lesson easier, believing that children want things to be easy is not the case. Most children are willing to work hard as long as they’re excited about what they’re working on.

Coding is a form of expression, much like writing. You can build birthday games for your friends, interactive content for your students, or cool smart home project for your family.

Becoming fluent, whether with coding or writing, helps you to develop your thinking, voice, and identity.

Learning a list of concepts separately (bottom-up) and solving problems designed for specific subjects often end up with disconnected knowledge. Project-based learning is a different approach (top-down), making it easier for students to make the connection between concepts, thus making it better for them to access and apply knowledge in new situations.

Consider three things when designing technologies and environments to support learning. 1. Low floors: make it easy for novices to get started. 2. High ceilings: support for increasing complexity 3. Wide walls: support a wide range of different types of projects.

Making the right tradeoff between structure and freedom. With too much structure, students can't work on what they want to work on. With too little structure, many aren't able to come up with ideas or follow through with ideas. "Employ structure in a way that amplifies learner agency."

Gamification is good for short-term boosts, but, once the incentive is gone, it can reduce a person's long-term motivation.

Some people get mad when their projects are remixed (or forked). It's important to design an environment where people feel honored when others remix their projects.

Good mentors move fluidly among different roles of Catalyst (spark students imagination, provide a sense of what is possible), Consultant (understand what students are trying to do and figure out the best way to support them), Connector (connect people together), and Collaborator.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow. old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw

“Playfulness is a more important consideration than play. The former is an attitude of mind; the latter is a passing outward manifestation of this attitude.” - John Dewey

Tinkering over planning. Start small, react to what happens, and refine the plan.

Tinkerer often takes a circuitous path to get to a solution. But what they lose in efficiency, they gain in creativity and agility.

“You don’t get lucky if you plan everything.” - Joi Ito

Making mistakes is part of the process.

Schools don’t know how to measure creative thinking, so they end up measuring things that they can measure more easily.

Always document everything. Documents allow you to reflect on your thinking, search through and connect ideas, and make sharing and discussing with others easier.

If you have no clue what to do, fiddle around: start with small (silly) ideas, follow your curiosity, and you'll come up with new goals and plans (you might discover a new passion)

Always take time to reflect on your learning strategies.

Initial prototypes don’t need to work perfectly, just well enough to play with, experiment with, and talk about.

It’s OK to copy stuff so long as you give appropriate credit and add some of your own ideas.

Be a short-term pessimist and a long-term optimist.

The way we teach reflects the way we learn. When we learn from smart people, we also acquire their learning process.

Invent things that you want to use yourself.