20% Project

My script for 20% project

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”- Albert Einstein

Isn’t it true though? It’s not always about what you know, rather what you can create.

Take a minute and remember back to when you were a child, what was your favorite thing to do? or play with?

Did you have a favorite tree you climbed or a special way you made your mud pies. I could argue that this is the way a lot of us grew up. Not with a lot of gadgets and toys but with our imaginations and whatever you found in your backyard. This is one of the special things about growing up in such a beautiful place like MT.

 

Loss of imagination has been on the rise for years and now with new and improved technology the gap is getting wider.

One statistic states today’s children are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media, and yet are only spending 23 minutes reading books.

Some research suggests that screen time can have lots of negative effects on kids, ranging from childhood obesity and irregular sleep patterns to social and/or behavioral issues. And what children are losing is critical thinking, verbal skills, concentration, initiative, innovation and creativity. These are pretty important skill sets to be losing in a time when our economy will increasingly rely on exactly what we’re removing from education.

 

I don’t want to demonize technology: it is a product of creative minds, and it can in some cases encourage, creative personalities. And I bet most of us can say we use computers weekly if not daily but I believe all of these devices encourage a mentality of instant gratification, and decrease the need to think ahead, generate ideas, adapt and solve problems. It takes time to be creative. Technology is not going to go away but balancing it is key. As one teacher said from The Waldorf School of Penninsula “It’s supereasy. It’s like learning to use toothpaste. At Google and all these places, we make technology as brain-dead easy to use as possible. There’s no reason why kids can’t figure it out when they get older.”

So you might ask what can we do to help solve this? Part of the profession we are all interested in is teaching, this is step one. As a teacher we are supposed to be enthusiastic and encouraging. But we are also meant to be leaders in our everyday lives. Make your classroom a place where kids want to be, where technology isn’t teaching your kids. Your style of teaching conveys volumes about your values, discipline, and what you want students to learn. Students take away material a lot better from teachers whose attitude toward your subject is positive. The way your classroom is set up also speaks volumes.

A great example of this is the Waldorf School of the Peninsula they subscribe to a teaching philosophy focused on physical activity and learning through creative, hands-on tasks. Those who endorse this approach say computers inhibit creative thinking, movement, human interaction and attention spans. While other schools in the region brag about their wired classrooms, the Waldorf school embraces a simple, retro look blackboards with colorful chalk, bookshelves with encyclopedias, wooden desks filled with workbooks and No. 2 pencils.

A passerby might see a classroom refreshing their knitting skills, crisscrossing wooden needles around balls of yarn, making fabric swatches. It’s an activity the school says that helps develop problem-solving, patterning, math skills and coordination.

Down the hall, a teacher drilled third-graders on multiplication by asking them to pretend to turn their bodies into lightning bolts. She asked them a math problem — four times five — and, in unison, they shouted “20” and zapped their fingers at the number on the blackboard.

In another classroom students standing in a circle learned language skills by repeating verses after the teacher, while simultaneously playing catch with bean bags. It’s an exercise aimed at synchronizing body and brain.

Another class was taught fractions by having the children cut up apples, quesadillas, cake into quarters, halves and sixteenths.

When asked for evidence of the school’s’ effectiveness, the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America points to research by an affiliated group showing that 94 percent of students graduating from Waldorf high schools in the United States between 1994 and 2004 attended college, with many heading to prestigious institutions.

The other aspect of getting kids to use their imaginations is when the child goes home from school and these devices are far more accessible. Parents need to be given tools to engage their children and excite them.Technology is often abused in the home and is used to distract or keep children busy.

I used to love the days of building blanket forts or playing with boxes. These things seem to be lost in our generation. It’s like they don’t have the creative mind to come up with the things we used to “not have” as a kid.

Something that parents can do to help spark their child’s imagination is designating a space for creating in your home; a space where they can feel free to create new things. Avoid managing their play time is also very helpful; give your child a chance to engage in their activities. Invent scenarios, get outdoors, and help kids activate their senses are all other great tips. Even though the aim for all of this is less screen time there are so many blogs, websites and pinterest pages for parents to get ideas. I have found some great apps that can manage screen time and get your child exploring. Our generation needs to hold on to the childlike imagination. I think Bob Seger said it best, “I wish I didn’t know now, what I didn’t know then.”

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Imagination- Where can you find it?!

One of the only aspects I love about technology is that it is so useful in coming up with ideas. The internet is right at our fingertips and we can search for all sorts of ideas. We can collaborate with others, receive feedback, and create.

Pinterest would be my #1 favorite site for this! I have found a few people to follow in the imagination exploration. Activities and Crafts!  Technology Management. Ways to set up an area to motivate imagination.

Kids Creative Center by www.lovegrowswild.com #kids #art #playroom #storage5 Apps for Connecting With Parents Fast Follow By Twitter Set up a Twitter account and have parents and students follow what is going on in your classroom.

The other thing that’s really important is how can we help guide kids to engage their imagination when they leave the classroom? There are so many blogs, websites, books available to help parents enhance the imagination at home. Parent Map is an awesome website for parents! They have ideas to help parents through everything.

These and many other websites are great resources if used in a smart way 🙂

2 Apps

The first app I found that I really enjoyed was Screen Time. This app lets you set up each child individually and set their perimeters on screen time they are allowed. It has different options for weekends and car rides. The car ride option I think is great because it allows the child to have unlimited screen time once you are in a car. The other thing I found fun was the Award Points that they can receive if they don’t use all of their screen time given. These points can be set up by the parent and used however they would like. The example in the app was once a child reached 100 Award Points they would get ice cream. A parent could also add Award Points to a childs profile if they did chores etc. Screen Time also sends alerts to any phone so the parent can know exactly whats going on. The thing I didn’t understand is what happens to the phone once a child uses their allowed screen time? I think this would be a very realistic app for a parent to have to keep them aware of the amount of time a child uses a device.

The other app I really enjoyed was called Disney nature, this app would be really fun for kids because it lets them explore animals and their habitat. The app lets you experience the food the animal might eat, where you might find them and even where they sleep. The app also allows you take pictures and carry your device around while you walk. I think this app would be fun to take to the outdoors and create imagination.

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I also found a great website that gives 17 different apps to inspire kids to play outside!!

Research

The 3 questions I want to explore for this project are:

  1. What can we do to spark imagination as teachers?
  2. Is the screen time affecting a childs learning?
  3. What can we teach others– parents etc about the issue so they can do something at home?


Tinkerlab is a website that is dedicated to encourage children to follow their curiosities, test how materials work, experiment, and ultimately combine materials and ideas together in new, inventive ways. The website offers many resources and ideas to inspire kids creativity. Other states are starting to notice the issue as well and are making programs to help kids get outdoors!

There are also so many websites out there with great studies of children and their loss of imagination because of technology. One great website even offers why we should have a child like imagination; and research that proves it.

There are videos, blogs, news-articles, and extensive research on the issue of the loss of imagination.

The struggle is sending the imagination home and having parents integrate it into children’s daily lives. What can we as teachers do to inspire children and parents to live in a day of creativity and imagination?

Purpose

The purpose of my blog is to create awareness and motivate people to use their imaginations. The world is ever changing and technology has taken over the world. You see kids with cell phones, iPads, tablets, TV’s. Heck, sometimes I think they know more about technology than us adults!

I remember growing up we didn’t have any of this stuff, we had to use our imaginations and create things. We had hours of fun playing with boxes that dad brought home. We played in the woods for ours, not wanting to return home. I had such a great childhood and I think many children are missing out on this!

The all became too apparent when I went huckleberry picking this summer with my friend and her kids, 5 and 7. They complained the whole time about how bored they were and kept asking when we would be leaving. This broke my heart, I tried to spark some enthusiasm and give them ideas of things they could create in the woods. “Use your imagination I told them! There are so many great, wonderful things to explore in the woods.” Needless to say they weren’t impressed.

I saw a Nature Valley commercial that made my heart sink…. It is just a glimpse into our future children. A must watch!

So, I want to explore how we can bring the imagination back into our childrens’ lives, and the classroom. This will be my focus and my purpose of research.