As a project, we are motivated to learn about learning. We believe there is potential for children's learning with technology, but believe this requires a shift in approach toward one that values thinking and process over products of technology.
We define innovation as finding something new inside something known. This definition supports a shift in thinking about what it means for children to engage in innovation. Our approach moves away from a focus on children making some thing and allows a space for children to find small discoveries as they think about themselves in relation to the materials they explore. The inside space points to the importance of context related to innovation. Specifically when speaking about the context of a young child, this definition honors children's small, authentic discoveries as innovation and supports children's confidence in becoming innovators.
technology as raw material:
We approach technology as raw material in a way similar to paint, paper or clay, rather than as tool. We define the raw material of technology both as a set of material components (lights, diodes, batteries, motors, etc.) and a set of logic systems (same-different, do-->happen, part-whole, etc.). This approach to technology allows all children to have access to the thinking of technology, not just the stuff of technology. We imagine the grain of technology analogous to the grain of wood.
learning as material:
We value the process of learning over the creation of specific forms. When children are permitted to focus on thinking about their thinking and are encouraged to reflect on their processes when they notice-wonder-persist, they develop a sensibility to care about learning as a process instead of learning as artifact or answer. Deep, layered experiences allow children to understand their learning processes on a continuum of easy to hard and internalize motivation for challenge.
We are not afraid of children being bored. Children need slow, sustained spaces for deep engagement with materials, ideas and processes of learning. These spaces support children's stamina in engagement with rigorous work and give them time to follow their own interests and make meaningful discoveries and connections.
creative inquiry --> critical inquiry:
We structure our inquiry and methods of exploration from an arts focus. In this approach, we believe a child's understanding of her/himself in relation to the world is the primary way a child makes meaning and develops agency to express meaning. Through opportunities for children to notice and wonder from various perspectives, they learn that meaning is not fixed and that meaning shifts and changes with every new perspective. This awareness of perspective allows for critical investigation about how and why things work in the world.
We focus to support children to have a production (vs. consumption) relationship to technology. This allows children to more deeply understand, explain and discuss systems, approaches and methods of technology, and to manipulate and create with the raw material of technology.