Thursday, November 7, 2013

How Kids Learn III: Play, Creativity, Tinkering, and the Arts

By Sam Piha

Two weeks ago we hosted our third How Kids Learn conference, which drew nearly 300 participants from the California Department of Education (CDE), local funders, and a bevy of afterschool and school day leaders. This conference focused on play, creativity, tinkering, and the arts. It was led by emcee, Lynn Johnson from Glitter & Razz Productions and featured opening remarks by Michael Funk, Director of the After School Division at CDE.  

All were inspired by the words from Dale Dougherty, Founder of the Maker Movement, who encouraged OST providers to offer activities that allow children to learn through taking things apart and build things from their imaginations. Elizabeth Rieke from the Center for Childhood Creativity cited the importance of activities that foster young people's creativity. Nikki Shechtman of SRI International shared the findings of a DOE study on grit and perseverance and talked about how programs can promote these traits. Shirin Vossoughi from the Exploratorium and Stanford  shared examples that highlight the ways educators can leverage the developmental potential of play, integrate students’ cultural and intellectual histories, and expand the meaning and purposes of STEM learning. 

There were other excellent speakers whose presentations will be available on the How Kids Learn YouTube channel in the near future. There were also six hands-on workshops that participants could choose from. Thanks to all of those that contributed to a very successful event and we look forward to our next How Kids Learn conference. 

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