edith ackermann

edith ackermann bw

With their boundless curiosity, fertile imagination, and natural mastery of the art of self-directed learning, children have much to teach adults about creativity and innovation. That’s perhaps even more true with today’s “digital natives,” says developmental psychologist Edith Ackermann, whose work explores—and exploits—the intersections of play, learning, design, and technology. An educator and researcher, Ackermann has consulted for LEGO and the LEGO Learning Institute for more than 20 years and worked under the direction of Jean Piaget, the Swiss psychologist renowned for his studies on children at play, at the Centre International d’Epistémologie Génétique. She has taught at Harvard, MIT, and other universities.

2010 – talk

each time when you enter the domain – you loose yourself and get lost – it keeps changing – just my take on the question – tonight

edith slide 1

transcript:

7 min:
erlebneiss is experience as being totally, mindfully into situations.

children may not have the experience with erfahrung or knowledge – but are sure born with the knack to do the right thing in order to find out about what they don’t know yet.

one way of talking about this, is to say they are experts in self-directed learning, what ever that means.
I like to think of a child that is busy figuring out their place in the world as a traveler or newcomer to a foreign land that has to convey their needs that have to be heard without really speaking the language, without knowing the habits, …, deciding when to move on and when to settle, what to bring along what to leave behind, who to trust who not to trust.
travel is like re-enacting and re-experiencing ways to handle these very uncertain situations.
children are incredible and we can learn a lot from them in the way they maneuver and evolve in a world that is by definition too complex, uncertain, and unpredictable for them.

piaget –

He defined intelligence as adaptation.
You have to withstand; you have to remain who you are. You have to keep your identity, even if you are constantly put into situations that require, in a way, that you change your views. to adapt is not to control the uncontrollable or predict the unpredictable – but to create a niche – to live and evolve in ways that are pleasant and agreeable to the person, organism that we are considering. – fulfilling
play is child’s most serious work
There is more to Piaget than these stages, and the part that interests me the most is this notion that children have very coherent and robust belief systems, and that their belief systems are stubborn.
But they are evolving according to almost a logic of their own.
He calls it “structure,” but it doesn’t matter. These pieces of knowledge are ways of making sense of the world. They hang together. They have co-dependencies between one another.
profound for ed:
1\teaching is always indirect
because people will always interpret, assimilate what we tell them, teach them, show them, the way we guide them into situations according to their own belief systems, experiences. They will re-translate it. The more disturbing and important consequence is that–Piaget used to say it in a very provocative way–he said, “Whatever you teach to a learner, you don’t allow them to discover by themselves.”
2\if you actually want children to internalize their action
or to become a good thinker, a good way of doing it is to let them externalize what they think, because if you project out or if you build something based on–or if you re-enact something based on ideas that you have, you’re entering a dialogue with your own expressions and enactments. And it allows you to progress.
I like to think of play as the art of world making, and that play is about inventing invented realities. It is about creating a world, physical or virtual, inhabiting that world, and then eventually becoming inhabited by it.
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Now, sometimes you are invited into invented realities that have been made or designed by other people. I like to start with very silly examples, like the entertainment park. I think this is the word where the roller coasters are. Imagine humanity has invented for itself these crazy devices where people actually go there to either take the driver’s seat and sort of experience the thrills of things that if they did it in the real world,
it would be really dangerous. Scary. Or be taken for a ride, even, be taken for a ride where you experience things in ways that are just not so usual in real life. In a way, I like to take the example of the entertainment park because we are all thinking that this is not where you play. But in a way it is very interesting to think about why humanity has invented these kinds of things.
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People leap when they feel like breaking loose or shaking off their habitual ways of doing things, and of thinking. They want to move out of their comfort zone. So, we leap, for example, when we look at things from different and surprising angles. When we zoom in and out of a situation, as like when you look at the drop of milk through a microscope, or if you hover over Istanbul and the south of France via Google Earth, when you actually sit in an airplane and you see the landscape becoming smaller. Each time I am amazed by this.
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We leap when we cross borders, when we transgress, when we take a walk on the wild side, as Louis was saying. And in our minds, we leap when we mentally move between reelas that wouldn’t otherwise be juxtaposed in our everyday experience that are unlikely, or when juxtaposing these worlds, worlds that are not normally traversed. You bring them together. So, that’s a more mental way of thinking about what leaping is. An example is when you move backwards and forward in time which children always do in pretend play. I am the baby. I am the poppa. I am the momma. They like the Russian dolls because it’s a spatial version of it, almost. The little one goes in the big one, and then you put them in a row. All these games. It’s talking to our dolls, to imaginary companions. It’s a displacement pretense that all the pretends play. Putting one’s self in other people’s shoes. it’s more role play.
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Now, one can go a long way using the metaphor of the leap to think about play, but I feel, and this is a more personal add-on, I think that the metaphor of the leap is important. But what is equally important to think about when we think about play is what I call the “come back“. It’s a sense of sort of a settling exhilaration that young children can feel that emerge through enacting, in a way of return.
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So, the reason why this is important is that you cannot leap without landing, or there is no levity without gravity. So, as much as kids love to move on–imagine a toddler, the thrills of all of a sudden being able to travel in the world and to have this whole world turning around them while they move on, they also like to come back. The whole toy industry for young children is built around this notion that, for example, when a young child moves about in the world and is disoriented, there is a reason to have a pull along toy with you, because what it does is that it gives you a sense that there is something invariant. There is something constant. It’s your distance from it. It’s the fact that it follows you, and it creates the sense almost of a very ephemeral home for a little while, which is important.
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There is another thing that is important. It’s the Hansel and Gretel aspect. It’s nice to wander into the forest. It’s nice to go wait for the moment of magic. It’s nice to go catch the butterflies, but it’s also nice to know that you can come back.
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I had collected quite a few definitions of play. but I am going to let them go. There is one that is important. It’s by Winnicott. He talks about the importance of transitional zones, and he talks about these objects that very young children fall in love with, because it in a way, it allows them again to navigate the unknown. In this case, it’s more relational. It has to do with the mother that is not always so good because every now and then she leaves, and to keep, in a way, this transitional object. This blanket, or whatever the object is, is a way of of actually saying, “I can survive. I can survive this separation.” And they treat the transitional objects in the way they think they are treated by the person who cares about them. So, Winnicott speaks beautifully about the fact that transitional object has to be forgiving enough and resilient enough to be loved, but also hated. To be treated in all kinds of ways. And John Holt is an educator. He says that when children play and use fantasies, it’s not to get out, but to get into the world. And this is an important idea, because when we see, for example, kids playing video games, and we spoke about this at lunch, it is not that it’s an escape. If I read a book, it’s not an escape from reality. It gives me the possibility to actually establish a dialogue between what is and what could be. It allows me to invent different narratives than the ones I am experiencing, under certain sets of constraints, by changing those sets of constraints, and embellishing, or the opposite, or just giving, in a way, the kind of weight and ending that feel more desirable.
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Now the play and creativity is another difficult distinction to make, because it’s not the same in children in grown-ups, and it’s not necessarily the same in the sciences and in the arts. And yet they have something in common.
scientists, artists, or just plain folk usually make better use of what is called lateral thinking. In a way, it’s like leaping. An ability to break lose from acquired mental habits by looking at a problem from different angles. de bono has been popularized in ways that are not interesting. He himself was a deep thinker, and what he says is that lateral thinkers tend to explore all of the different ways of looking at something, rather than accepting
“This is important,” the most promising and proceeding from that. They do not assume that old ideas should have precedence until something better turns up. This is very Piaget. I mean, as long as my world views are good enough, I’m not going to change.
So, in a way, it’s dominances. It’s not that they are in opposition, but they are people,
And I notice this with designers a lot, who are more willing to play that game of not taking for granted what actually has become things they know or believe in. So, one way of thinking about this is to say normally, at least in scientists, the idea is driven more by curiosity than playfulness. And those seem a bit artificial to separate, but I think it’s a useful thing to do, at least for a little moment.
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Curiosity is driven by the urge to figure out how things work, to grasp the logic of the patterns behind the surface of things, to explain things away, sometimes a bit too much. To debug, to prove, and they have a clear, adaptive function: to turn the unfamiliar into the familiar, the unknown to the known.
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Playfulness is doing something different. It’s sort of driven by the desire to imagine alternatives, which actually scientists do a lot if they are innovative. Suspension of disbelief is so important. The ability to fictionalize, to dramatize reality, and its adaptive function is likely different of the one of getting to know. It’s to turn the familiar, or taken for granted, into the uncanny, the humorous, the incongruous.
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There are people who are always able to solve problems in ways that allow them to think less. And those are the real smart ones. My favorite example is Gaudi when he was building the models from Sangra de Familia. He realized that if he has some threads hanging, and if he puts weights on them, and if you imagine, you put this in a liquid so you can freeze them, so to speak. if you return them, you get the mathematics of the arches in the other direction.
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And in working with children, I constantly fall upon children who are good at that. So if you are asking a complicated question, like there is this car driving around the lake, and there is this person sitting driving. He’s on the side of the lake when the car is on the other side where … So you have the kids that go like, “Mmm, mmm.” They go like this. In this case, it’s not using the object but your own body, instead of looking at it from a God’s eyes view and calculating the reverse.
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Or there are children–we were playing a game of exchanging equal volumes of wood, but they were cut in such a vicious way that you had an equivalence between two blocks against three. So, the question was the smallest property common denominator of the smallest denominator. So, the question is, how many blocks does this person have to give to this person so that they have the same amount of wood? You have these kids that just start somewhere. They align the blocks until they align themselves. And then it’s like, “OK.” And then they go in another direction until it aligns itself and then guess what, they go in a third direction and then they get that cube that is equal to the other one. Never they had counted. Never they had made a multiplication. And I can multiply the examples of working with young children on numbers where they are incredible. They are able to actually reconstruct same quantities elsewhere, and it’s not just perceptive. They would go, “And there are three, and there are two, and there is one, and there is five.” So, they use the ability to name small quantities perceptually. They use music as a way to put them in a reason to remember. It’s like the glue between these small chunks, and they use this whole thing as a recipe to build equivalences at the other end.
So, these to me are people who are more at the end of coming up with creative solutions that are clever, in the sense that they are not based on this rational thinking and this power of computation, but in the ability to establish a dance, really, with the materials and to use so-called sensorimotor abilities to help the world do half of the work for you.
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The future of play in education, I pass very quickly.
The problem with play in education–I call it when the solution becomes the problem. I call it, don’t kill the play by adding the learning. Play, by definition, cannot be co- modified, and this is the difficulty. So, there is much talk, especially these days, about measurable gains, academic and professional, associated with play and learning. The problem is to me that the slow infusion of ever stronger doses of serious message to play can actually, at once, kill the play and hamper the learning. In other words, the examples of canned play are common in the field of education and also of “edutainment.” It’s horrible, but when you talk with educators who want to deliver in more playful ways the contents of the particular curriculum and you receive these boxes, it’s like Corn Flakes. Give it to your kids and they will become smart. And it has actually led to scandals with Mozart. Finally, people became tired of this rhetoric, of selling toys, also. I mean, I don’t have to go into detail more about that.
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The future of play is the idea that today’s children don’t always play, learn, or mingle the way we expect them to, and what if they did it in ritual ways that we don’t always see. There are a few areas of change that are very clear, even if one doesn’t want to exaggerate the generational gaps. Today’s children are developing new ways of relating, because their neighborhoods, their community as we know them are no longer the same. So, they invent other ways to keep relational bonds beyond borders. Their identities are also shifting, because in a way, between private and public, the boundaries are changing. Also, different ways of moving between places and what you consider home. There are many children who want, if they have split families, they want either to have the same toys in both homes, or they carry Ninja Turtle bags that are always heavier because they actually want to carry the thing with them. And what they want is they become fascinated with all the play that actually allows them to glide between these places.
One important difference is also the relationship to literacy. Because with the tools that we have now, even if you think of writing, you don’t have the separation between writing and reading anymore. It takes you an evening to read the book and a year to write it. Now, they meet in between, in what I call annotation, because the reading becomes more and more active, because you can cut and paste, you can highlight, you can re-narrate whatever you borrow and read, and you can also, when you are on the writing side, you take these chunks and you sort of pass them on more quick, quicker. So, you have this circulation and distribution of half-baked ideas that is very characteristic of the way in which kids work and that create incredible problems in education.
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But the point that I want to make is that all this is true. But maybe one of the most interesting things is that the children today are reclaiming their body and reclaiming a sense of place. It’s as if they have been in the virtual world for a bit long, so now you have the emergence of all these toys like Wii, but you have also the children who actually begin to re-enjoy, even if they go on the web, they pay more attention to the context, the physical context in which they do that.
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So I have one slide here that is sort of the manifest of the digital kid, what they would like. It says, “Give me toys that I can carry along. Give me toys that make me feel home wherever I am. Give me toys that help me find my ways and orient myself.” So, this is besides the leaping. “Give me building elements that I won’t lose.” This is difficult. If you are a builder on the go, Lego won’t work because you lose them. And to capture this notion, it’s like, “Make me able to explore and use my creative skills locally, globally, anywhere, anyyime but please don’t forget, I do have a body and I like to use it. I am exuberant, I’m physical, so make me fly, transport me and teleport me, but also make me touch, feel move, ground me.”
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I am going to pass, because I had, of course, a whole part on how you design environments for people to actually be able to engage in play. One important characteristic is that it’s good if environments or artifacts have holding power. This is the notion that they just don’t say, “Use you,” wow, and then you get tired of them, but you can revisit them constantly and it’s actually growing. “I grow with my toys and my toys grow with me” is the idea here. There are other qualities of these environments that are important, that they allow you to immerse yourself but then to come back. That they are forgiving in the sense that nothing kills. That’s what’s so useful in video games. You can change perspective, you can change the scale of things, you become a giant and then you become a little ant. You can change your stance in the world. The notion that these spaces have always to be comfortable in a way. They are often called third places. They are neither like home nor like work. They are more like stages, or cafes, or places that you know when you come in that you can behave differently. It’s like, if I go to a bar, I know I put my red lipstick and so on. [laughter] Because it’s a third place, and I can stretch and explore aspects of myself that I don’t do if I am in a professional meeting, with some corporate people or something like this.
Another important thing, and I’m so happy I heard about this here– it’s no segregation by age. I had the chance to work for three years in a European project which had the ugly title of “Intergenerational Learning,” but it’s key, it’s so important. And that’s what I like about museums. Because I am a developmental psychologist, I am always asked, when I work mostly with little kids, it’s like, “Is this developmentally correct, is this the exact target group for this activity?” And I’m going, “I am trying to do that well.”
It’s like when you are an architect it has to function but then something else has to happen.
So yes, they have to be targeted. But guess what? They have to transcend. And in order to transcend, they have to please people from different backgrounds, walks of life, experience, age, and they have to have an integrity that actually engages people from different walks of life.
So in a way, it’s to think about places in which people that otherwise wouldn’t meet come together to do things that they otherwise wouldn’t do. So, that’s a nice definition of the types of third places.
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Last slide–if you think about the different phases in a learning or in a play process, sometimes we call it the five C’s, it’s like, you have to connect, you have to be inspired, it’s a wow moment you psych up. And then to think about the type of space, but not as in a physical space that is dedicated, but the kind of mental space that you need in order to be inspired to connect it from. I call it the imaginarium. If you are immersing yourself hands-on, but also body immersion, if you build, if you try out things, the idea is more like the exploratorium. If you think about things, contemplate, reflect, sometimes they call it heads-in, which is an ugly term, it’s more like the sanctuary, because you want, in a way, some quiet, in order to play back. And that’s what I spoke the whole evening, it’s that category, to play back things, to re- visit, to recast, to give them form to ideas, to dramatize, it’s the stage. And share, negotiate, collaborate, mingle, it’s the piazza.
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So, these are again, they are–wha-la, I am done. Thank you.
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I think nothing is harder than to give recommendations that are specific enough for people who want to design environments that are rich for play and learning. So, I am only scratching the surface, because the recommendations are much too general. And even if you really start really defining the qualities of these environments, like they have to allow iteration, they have to be forgiving, they have to be good enough mothers, they have to be this, they have to be that, it’s always a little bit too general and it doesn’t quite help. I leave this for discussion. Thank you.
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It’s starts in babyhood with peek-a-boo. It takes various forms. Hide-and-seek is one form. It all has to do with enactments the children enjoy and in which they play a very active role to engage in to actually explore this notion of permanency, object permanency. When we talk about object permanancy, we don’t think just of objects, but of people. It starts with very young children who love these games of “I am here, I am not here, I’m here, I’m not here,” the little Debbie that comes out of the box, oops, he comes up, he goes back, it disappears, it comes back because young children don’t have object permanency. So, when the ball disappears behind the sofa, it’s gone. No problem, no attachment. I’m happy; I’m seduced by the next thing that comes my way. Around the age of eight months, they begin to be shy of strangers precisely, because
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what’s in the mind of somebody else who is not in your position.
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And what do the nomads do? They always come back. They have this ritual of coming back.
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So you have many, many examples in a way of kids. The way I imagine this mythology is again about, “I am going; you don’t know where I am. but I am having fun and I am capturing things in the environment.” It can be with your cell phone. It’s like photographing what you eat, you know. “I am going, but I keep track, I keep trace,” it’s not even leaving a mark but I keep track.
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And then at night, what do I do? I contact my friends to show them what I have been doing because that is as important. So in a way, you can all of a sudden shed light. Some of the technologies that they like to carry around or the things that they like to do through this lens, because you begin to realize that they love to share their captures. They save them for later and then they love to share them on common. Even if it’s online, it allows them to play these games of “I go, I come back.” It’s a long answer to hide and seek but…
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Woman 1: …get the kids to move, be a part of something, but don’t touch it really (hand sanitizer et al). Could you comment on that?
Edith: I have no good answer. I only have hopes that I see symptoms of new rituals around that we see that go counter this tendency. And the example I have in mind is the maker’s fair. It’s a very strange phenomenon where all of a sudden, you have all these people who have lived online, who have created their own second lives and all these things. They come together, like, to go to Woodstock you know? In tribes. And what do they do? They bring stuff and they show it to one another and it has to be in a physical place and some people like it, some people don’t. Some people think its not really arts, it’s not a novelty. But I cannot answer your question. I can just try to become attentive while this trend is certainly very strong of creative ways in which younger people actually deal with these kinds of challenges. And one of them was also that there was an incredible resilience at a certain point on the part of the geeks, the ones that live constantly in the virtual world, to actually establish rapport with other people that are not physical. They were very close, but it was not necessarily physically close. And I don’t know what this does. On the other hand, you have these ways in which people come together, also in hybrid ways that are very interesting. It’s not just only online.
And I become myself more and more interested in studying, not just when you look at kids or young people staring at the computer screen and entering their world, it’s interesting to look at how they actually go in each other’s houses. (playing board games while each in their own house) There are lots of rituals around this that go beyond just what they stare at. They like to slouch on couches, they have their own way of keeping a physical rapport with the place and other people, even if they go away ever now and then. It’s like when we have our cell phones, we’re still here.
I think the only way to go about this is to study these hybrids where physical, virtual, and digital merge in interesting and unusual ways. That’s all I can say. It’s very difficult, too. But I agree, I arrived yesterday in Minneapolis at three o’clock, and I am in the at the center of the city. The financial center, I guess. And my question was “Donde esta la gente? Where are the people here?” You have these streets that are totally empty, you have these gorgeous huge buildings, the windows of which you cannot open most of the time. It is a striking shock when you arrive.
But I am an optimist, because I think that people are very smart in inventing for themselves places, and environments, and rituals that are made for that. I come from Europe and I was an intellectual in the 60’s, and the cafe was sacred, and so on. But I enjoy when I see the all the geeks working at their own computer in the cyber cafe. It’s not the same, but it’s a funny way that they have to come together without talking to one another. Now they start doing things together. They communicate a lot through what they are doing, which is also can lead to some–and they jump. What is also very nice is that at the Exploratorium–I don’t know if you were there, Keith–at the Exploratorium. They did a whole activity around sound. There was actually one session where very known artists, sound artists, came to talk about their work. And it was very nice to see the kinds of questions from the young makers. They had no sense of hierarchy, they had no sense of comparing their production with the production of Walter Ketundu or other wonderful artists who work with sound. The questions were all technical. “How do you get this sound to come out from these tubes?” The questions were all technical. And I found this very interesting because it’s as if they were in this world of hobbyists, of makers that work together and the question is, “How to optimize what I am really interested in doing?” So, they are very refreshing in the questions they ask, because it’s not like the usual shyness, you know in front of the big artist.
I don’t know what it entails in terms of the quality of their work. It’s not enough to just throw out something and then it’s enough. And when I have organized workshops for kids’ designers, kids’ play, kids’ technology, more than you ever want to participate in any more and usually they stop when every kid comes with a little contraption they have built. It’s more or less cute or not. You can say, “Yeah, it’s great.” But you never have the time to come back and then actually either really respect the work by re-choreographing it in different ways or imagining games like, the children come back with what they have produced and you go for a second round, saying for example, “Take whichever inspires you best, even if it’s not your own and continue to work on it as if it were your own.” And you go through alterations, and there has to be way to allow these productions to become better crafted, to become more polished and also to become something that is bigger than just my own little first attempt at sketching something.
This is very important, but it’s easier said than done.
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do you perceive are changes taking place in how families raise their children in more urban environments versus say forty years ago…
Yes. That’s a whole other, very complicated question. I like to almost start from the point of view of the child, thinking sort of what’s in their mind, what’s on their plate and what’s in their toy chests, you know? And from the point of view of the child, oftentimes they have single parents or they have split family situations. They also have situations where parents get remarried after having had children so there are many kids around, like it’s this tribe of kids. So, I always like to think that the kids are thinking, “I love to go out with my family, but can you tell me who is part of my family?” And in a way, they have their own way of–because it’s not so clear sometimes–they have their own way of reinventing the family in terms of the kinds of people that they want around themselves to feel good. Those are all the examples. We worked a lot on this one at Lego to try to understand how they respond to these situations precisely. For example, if you live in one apartment in town, at some point in another, the kids are very different. Either they like to have duplicates, to feel at home almost anywhere which is not really home. It’s like in America, when you travel. I think Americans are a nomadic tribe without them realizing it because they came to this country and they were more pioneers. So, this nice thing–it’s not just the mobile home, it’s the thing that you find wherever you go. It can be the McDonald’s. When you go to a park, it’s that particular bench. So, when people come, in a way, it is the same because it’s a duplicate of it. So, if a child travels with their parent and each time when you stop you find those benches, it’s OK and you eat your McDonald’s. It’s OK. It’s not too disturbing. So, that’s for the part of being comforted. It’s the notion of the carpet that the nomadic people carry with them, and that is the most precious object because wherever they go they stake their territory, they sit on it, and they are home. And there are all these nice studies that are done also, by artists, about how people inhabit spaces that they know they cannot stay long in, like hotels, or how they relate to their luggage, to their objects in luggage. Again, there are very different strategies. There are those who, no matter where they are in the hotel, how horrible or beautiful, they always have to put a few objects in a very particular place to stake their territory and feel at home. Others don’t care. They put themselves in a bubble. The only thing they want is the plug to put on their computer, because that’s home. I go through my email, I am comforted. And a shower should be good, and the bed should be good. They stay in a bubble and that’s what they bring with themselves. The children do that a lot, for example, in the world of toys. I’ve worked for Lego for so long. At the beginning it was all about bricks but you can’t carry bricks along, so if you have different places where you go to, you just need your stack of bricks. If children travel, what they like is to bring little micro-worlds with themselves, the little mini-worlds where you can do things, or the video games because they come with you. I understand that they like to bring their little–I like to bring my computer with me now when I travel because again, it’s a way of settling. It’s about settling even if you know that the places in which you settle are totally not permanent and fragile.
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about watching themselves play, that phenomena of them being on camera or them seeing themselves?
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Edith: Can you say a bit more what they do?
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Man 3: Sure. Well, it came mostly from another generation of the MTV generation, where they watched themselves dance or do things, and their behavior changed. Now, with some of these digital natives, with virtual cam, webcam, they’re watching themselves behave in a way and they’re changing. And also Skype. They’re watching themselves change how they play.
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Edith: Yes, this is wonderful, because it is almost a technique to allow to modify as you go along the narrative, and also the way in which you want to portray yourself, because it keeps track of what you are doing in a way that you cannot appreciate if you are really in the actions. So, it’s a way of actually having these mirrors. Mirrors have been important, like in the elementary school system for young children, they use mirrors a lot, and all kinds of mirrors. They have, for example, these triangular mirrors where people go in; they have all kinds of mirrors, and maybe it’s a way to keep track and to be able to operate these desired changes in their own appearance, identity, to play around to explore that. I don’t quite know. What strikes me also is all these versions of karaoke. I don’t know what this about. [laughter] I am sure you have better insights than I do on this question. [laughter]
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Two things Montessori did very well – 1) if you want to open space in childrens minds – needs to be organized, they have to know where the materials are to help them understand they can use them.. if there is not clarity in what could be found… in order to be creative. 2) many materials have the qualities that you can play with them.. the danger – may become too rigid.
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I don’t know enough about Montessori because it’s not really from within. I have never really worked in Montessori school, but the art is really to imagine these different ways in which you can unfold the phenomenon, because otherwise embodiments are not good enough. You see, it makes me sad and sick when I hear now there is this incredible fad among academics.
Everything has to be embodied. Embodied cognition. And it is nothing else than–I call it in my own academic term–it’s a return of a certain kind of empiricism. It’s like, “Play with this thing. Play with these cakes and you will understand fractions.” Or, “Play with these materials.” Because the idea is that the concept is embodied in the materials, which is never the case.
But I think the Montessori materials, especially the way they are used in Montessori schools, do that very well. The third thing I like about her is that the senses are important to her, maybe more than to Piaget, because he was more interested in the child as a young scientist and was more heady. So, the materials that they came up with, this game-like situation in which you invite the kids to play, they are also kind of nice but not as nice. He doesn’t pay attention to the senses so much, which Madame Montessori does. I don’t know if there are still aspects that you think of that I let aside that you enjoy.
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_________

find/follow Edith here:

edith at mit

or her blog:

edith's blog

[more on play]

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rip

Daniel Cardoso Llach (@dcardo) tweeted at 9:11 PM – 25 Dec 2016 :

Edith Ackerman, the youngest and most vital mind I’ve met, just left us. We were so lucky to have her. https://t.co/BmnwY0zuJG (http://twitter.com/dcardo/status/813235763789832192?s=17)

Maarten Van Mechelen (@MPPVM) tweeted at 1:51 AM – 26 Dec 2016 :

Sad news, Edith Ackerman, an icon in the field of Child Computer Interaction, passed away. #kidsandtech #childdevelopment #LEGO #MIT https://t.co/gmLflH9mfR (http://twitter.com/MPPVM/status/813306203258425344?s=17)

Gregory T. Corrigan (@GregCorrigan) tweeted at 11:09 AM – 15 Oct 2016 :

Edith Ackerman’s keynote: Minsky: “You don’t understand anything until you learn it more than one way.” #fablearn (http://twitter.com/GregCorrigan/status/787339660145995776?s=17)

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