MIT's Mitch Resnick on what ‘Toy Story’ gets wrong about the future of play

If you’ve ever seen the Toy Story movies, you may remember the neighbor kid, Sid. His room is presented in horror-movie fashion, with dim lighting and discordant music, and the toys are all in pieces, as Sid dismantles them and remakes them in his own crazy way.

To Mitchel Resnick, an MIT Media Lab professor and early pioneer of the maker movement for kids, this Hollywood’s portrayal is problematic, and part of a larger trend toward overly regimenting education these days.

“I worry about the way the movie presents the inventor as sort of the dysfunctional character, and the bedroom with the toys that come alive on their own is the one that’s full of light and seen in a very positive light,” Resnick explains.

Resnick argues that all kids—and even grownups—should approach life the way we all did in kindergarten, where learning happened through playfully rearranging the world around us. He makes that case in his new book “Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play.” It’s an argument that the inventors of kindergarten accidentally designed the kind of learning environment needed at all levels of education these days—whether it’s in school, college, or the workplace.

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