Because our middle level learners are ready for more independence, age-appropriate challenges, and they crave mastery of skills, we need to teach them differently. Middle level learners need to spend less time memorizing content and more time developing skills. They need to imagine more, choose more, produce more so that they like school more. A skill-centered curriculum, using content as a vehicle for skill development, is the future of middle level education.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tactnology and Skill Development

I am going to be presenting at the Kentucky Society of Technology Educators (KYSTE) annual conference on March 7th about how technology-based building toys engender important thinking skill development in young people. I am intrigued and encouraged by the possibilities created by the increasing number of products that combine creative construction with a technological component. Each takes advantage of what I refer to as the Lego formula: choice + tactile = endless engagement and updates it with the allure of electrical circuitry. Several incorporate programming, which adds an additional layer of skill development. 

In the weeks leading up to the conference, I will introduce my ideas and profile each product here in the blog.  These entries will become the resources that people who are interested in the products and my ideas can turn to to learn more.

Check out the conference line up here

Here is my presentation description: 

Tactnology: Where hi-tech and children’s need for the tactile meet!
Lets’s examine the process and products that wed the Lego formula  (choice  + tactile = endless engagement) with technology. We will discuss what really happens when kids build by hand, thus what underlies the fundamental appeal of such products, then consider how technology can further refine the intellectual component of this process. Then we will examine some of the venerable “tactnological” products and some of the best new ones out there. Lego’s Robotics, Roominate, littleBits, Squishy Circuits, Linkbots and Makey Makey are some of the products we will consider.
Tim Corkran
Relevance Education

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