It should come with a manual

My 11-year old received a #sphero for Christmas and he is passionately coding it to read “Happy New Year’. Really powerful to see him figure this stuff out. Reminds me of my early days with #Logo and #turtlegraphics. @peterskillen @dougpete— Stephen Hurley (@Stephen_Hurley) December 27, 2018

This, from Stephen Hurley, was one of the first Twitter messages that I read Thursday morning that really sunk in. Rolland Chidiac got into the conversation and was part of a further thought from Stephen.

I’ve been thinking about the deeper thinking about this contained in Papert’s Mindstorms. That was required reading in my teacher ed program!— Stephen Hurley (@Stephen_Hurley) December 27, 2018

It got me thinking just a little bit.

So often, toys, gadgets, and instruments of learning come with their own user manual. In many cases, it’s about the mechanics to get something to work and then, presumably you’re off to play and discover.

I wonder how many people actually visit the support website of the gadget to see the support that is provided to turn whatever it is into a powerful instrument of learning? Vendors such as Sphero have huge support, not only by the company, but by good educators doing great things in the classroom with the device. It’s only then that you take a minimal investment and unleash the power within.

It’s not a new thing. Stephen had tagged both Peter Skillen and me in the original message. Peter has long thought and learned deeply about what the child can do when programming takes place meaningfully. I instantly recalled a conversation with him when he “lost it” over a comment that there is so much research done today and little done in the past.

It inspired Peter to write this post. It’s as meaningful these days after Christmas and all the gifts that are in play. I would encourage anyone who has given such a gift this year to read it.

And, the manual? Perhaps this should be sold along with every device manual. At the very least, check it out at your local library.

A text version is available here for free.

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One comment

  1. Maybe it’s a generational thing but I find my kids (and by kids, they are in their 20s) go to the online support and youtube videos etc first and hardly look at the user manual.

    Like

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