Lifelong Kindergarten: how to learn like a kid, by the co-creator of Scratch

Mitchel Resnick is one of the most humane, accomplished and prolific creators of educational technology in the world, one of the co-creators of Logo and Lego Mindstorms, and founder the MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten group, where the open source, kid-friendly, open-ended Scratch software development tool was born; in a new book (also called "Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play") Resnick analyzes the extraordinary successes that have emerged from his kid-centered view of learning with technology, sketching out a future in which kids program their classroom computers, not the other way around.

Scratch predates the widespread adoption of networks and computers that kids could freely use, but from the start it was designed to be a collaborative tool, taught through a network of "Computer Clubhouses" around the world where kids gathered to engage in open-ended technological play that involved solving mathematical problems, making art, imaginative play, building working programmable robots, and mentoring and tutoring each other.

After thirty years of this kind of wonderful hands-on experience, Resnick has distilled his approach and that of his mentors and peers (notably Seymour Papert) into four principles: "Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play." Resnick urges us to move past the debates over "screen time" and the default assumption that computers are a way to pour knowledge into our kids, focusing instead on creating open sandboxes with "low floors" (easy ways to get started), "high ceilings" (ways to chain together tools tools to make sophisticated projects), and "wide walls" (lots of paths to expertise to accommodate many learning styles).

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