If school kills creativity, can toys bring it back to life?

Article excerpt by Natahn Whittemore

reposted from http://www.good.is/post/if-schools-kill-creativity-can-toys-bring-it-back-to-life/

“Legos are one of the most popular toys of all time. According to TED Fellow Ayah Bdeir, who delivered a speech at the famed conference in Long Beach, California this week, there are more than 400 billion of the little blocks in the world, or 75 for every person on earth. The brilliance of Legos is that they are not a single toy, but a platform for creation with nearly endless possibilities, making them one of the best teaching tools ever.

In an education world obsessed with curriculum standards and high-stakes testing, students are funneled onto particular tracks, rather than being allowed to choose their own adventures and explore their passions (a phenomenon that education expert Sir Ken Robinson says is killing creativity)  But if the contemporary education model discourages kids’ curiosity and creativity, a new generation of companies are finding ways to emulate Lego and encourage those traits through play.

Like Legos, littleBits and MakerBot replicators can be educational, but they’re fundamentally about playing. Play is about active engagement and experimentation with the world in a situation in which there is no clear “right” or “wrong,” but a set of possibilities. It’s a process of learning-by-doing driven not by an externally defined outcome, but about personal instinct, passion, and goal-setting. 

It is not just children that need this type of play—they tend to do it without being told. Adults, on the other hand, inhabit a world in which “success” tends to have little to do with creative experimentation. This new infrastructure of play is not just a collection of interesting startups, but a broad entrepreneurial movement with the potential to restore the creativity that’s been lost in too many schools.


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