Thanksgiving 2013: Learn For Fun With Show and Tell
For years, artists, designers, and tech professionals have been building very simple, impactful tools that help kids get high school and college prepared. If kids are learning code, designing websites, or developing their genius selves by writing their own stories, their minds are on to good things. These tools aren’t some overpriced “stupid learning solution” that pops up on the arm of a teacher as if they were a fun contest entry, but real life solutions with remarkable accomplishments.
Good tools like Trello are accessible for anyone to use to organize tasks or storage. You can break open the box and take a look at all of the different tabs and tools that make up a project dashboard or give you access to programs from any company or institution. All of them have been designed to help students not only learn “facts,” but creativity as well.
Next year is giving kids a gift that brings their learning to life in a new way with the “Show and Tell” project. It’s a collaborative platform that helps students experiment with creativity. So if you want your child to learn to draw or learn to tell a story (think watching Finding Nemo for adults), this simple, to-the-point tool will let them come up with their own stories that are terrifically entertaining. Just as they do at TV shows like Doc McStuffins, students are creating things that will inspire them to learn beyond doing.
The tool is easy for students to use, while parents and teachers can work together to create a fun, interactive experience. It’s all the fun of a grown up recipe book (spend less time reading!) plus everything the technology gets out of the way so the kids can create.
This web-based sharing platform allows students and teachers to offer their creations to each other, and share a knowledge base of their work together.
Teachers can share their lessons and classroom happenings with the teacher community, while students can search and browse for their teachers and classes, or learn about new assignments and lessons from a community of peers. A Classroom catalog gives all teachers access to the same resources and lessons, so when teachers face the same challenges as students, they can find each other quickly and benefit from each other’s successes and struggles.
It’s often said that what students are learning in school goes far beyond the number of theories and equations taught. The tools shown above are awesome examples of how kids will be learning this summer. They’re all available for students in summer camps, teachers in classrooms, and professional development programs all over the world. Everyone wants kids to have high school and college readiness, but we can’t forget they’re also already trying to figure out how to make something great to share.
Students, teachers, parents, and designers would be wise to link arms and give this project a look. Show and Tell is simple to use, but incredibly engaging. It’s always great to play with others’ work, and often there’s more to learn from it. Even if students never cross paths with this tool, there are other tools that will help all of them learn how to love to write, draw, and learn.
I have a personal friend whose daughter works with me in a creativity-focused classroom, and is a master in many areas. By coming together with students, teachers, parents, and creative colleagues, I know this program can change every one of their lives.
Katrina Schwartz is a Managing Partner of Inkling, where she is building tools that help kids learn and grow. She is the author of Six Disciplines of Wonder. You can connect with her on Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and LinkedIn.