We had a joint R&D session to explore balance with our Brazilian partners as part of a collaborative project for LEGO Tech & Play (continued from this post). It was a great opportunity for both the TS team and the BCLN (Brazil Creative Learning Network) team to spend time together prototyping and exploring how balance activities could be used for future professional development training for teachers in Brazil.
Learner’s hat and educator’s hat:
Whenever we share an activity with educators, we ask them to put on a learner's hat instead of an educator’s hat. We know they usually work as teachers, facilitators, or researchers, but while trying out an activity with us, we encourage them to set aside their usual hats and just be learners. This is important because we want them to simply engage with the phenomenon at hand, be curious and enjoy the activity, as we believe that exploring real-world phenomena is an essential first step toward a meaningful tinkering experience. While exploring, they don’t have to ask questions like “What are the learning objectives?” or "How can I connect this activity to the curriculum?” Rather, we spend time simply playing with the phenomenon and the materials as learners first. Later, we ask them to put back on their educator’s hats and reflect on the experience through an educator’s eyes.
This is how we looked as a group of learners when we had the balance exploration activity over Zoom. This represents our joint R&D session really well, with each of us fully engaged with the phenomenon and the simple materials. While working, we wanted to be able to see each other’s exploration. Pointing the camera downward is one of our tinkering tips while working remotely. In that way, everyone can see what others are working on, which often generates more questions and conversations around the topic.
(I won't go into detail about the prompts and materials that we prepared for this R&D session, but in general, we referred to this project page "Balance Explorations," and each of us brought materials from home that could be used in the exploration. )
This project was made possible through generous support from the LEGO Foundation.