robertogreco + lego   81

Harvard EdCast: Lifelong Kindergarten | Harvard Graduate School of Education
"The concept of kindergarten — as a place for young children to learn by interacting with materials and people around them — has existed for over 200 years, but never has the approach been so suited to the way the world works as it is today, says Mitchel Resnick, the LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab.

“That approach to kindergarten is really aligned with the needs of today’s society," says Resnick, citing the need to adapt to the speed at which things change in the world. "As kids in the traditional kindergarten were playfully designing and creating things, they were developing as creative thinkers…. That’s exactly what we need.”

Being given the room to explore, experiment, and express oneself is vital to becoming a creative thinker — and to the learning process as a whole — says Resnick, author of Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play. If people aren't encouraged in their creativity at an early age, and if this isn't nutured throughout their schooling, then they aren't as prepared to deal with the unexpected when it arises.

“We’re trying to spread that approach to learners of all ages," says Resnick, who also leads the Lifelong Kindergarten research group at MIT. "We want to take what’s worked best in kindergarten and here at the Media Lab and provide opportunities for all kids of all ages to be able to explore and experiment and express themselves in that same spirit.”

In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Resnick talks about the importance of nurturing creativity in learning and explains why kindergarten is the greatest invention of the last millennium."

[See also:
"Mitchel Resnick - MIT Media Lab: Lifelong Kindergarten" (2014)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRxD-pe3PN0

"Helping Kids Develop as Creative Thinkers" (2017)
https://vimeo.com/244986026 ]
mitchresnick  lifelongkindergarten  mitmedialab  2017  interviews  kindergarten  play  projects  projectbasedlearning  passion  collaboration  experimentation  creativity  medialab  scratch  making  pbl  teaching  sfsh  learning  howweteach  howwelearn  risks  risktaking  education  schools  lcproject  openstudioproject  curiosity  schooling  unschooling  deschooling  mindstorms  writing  coding  programming  leaning  creating  lego  reasoning 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Girls Garage (@_girlsgarage) • Fotos y vídeos de Instagram
"Starting off the morning with some #LEGO telephone! In teams of 4, one builder begins a structure, two messengers (one of whom can see the structure and one who can't) share intel, and the second builder uses the "blind" messenger's description to attempt to replicate the first structure. 👉"
lego  classideas  making  communication  play 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Sony’s New toio Wants to Inspire a Future Generation of Robotics Engineers | Spoon & Tamago
"Build, play, inspire. That’s the idea behind Sony’s new toy for kids, designed to inspire a future generation of robotics engineers. Toio is the result of 5 years of research into developing a toy that’s simple enough for kids to use, but also sophisticated enough to create a figurative sandbox where kids can explore the inner-workings of robotics engineering.

Toio, at first glance, is stunningly simple: the core of the toy is just 2 white cubes with wheels. But don’t be fooled by their appearance. The tiny cubes pack a whole lot of tech. They respond to motion, are able to detect the exact location of the other, and can be programmed but also remote controlled.

It would seem that the possibilities for toio are endless, which is why the developers teamed up with various creatives and designers to come up with various craft sets that help kids explore what robots can do. You can create your own robotic beast and battle others, you can play board games with them and you can make obstacle courses for them to go through. Sony has even teamed up with Lego for this project, allowing kids to build Lego structures on top of their robots.

But one of the most attractive features is a craft set designed by the folks behind the lovable PythagoraSwitch TV segment. It’s a simple paper set that encourages kids to join the two white cubes using paper. The cubes then interact with each other and come alive, resulting in different movements.

Check out the videos to get a better sense of what toio can do. Sony has released a limited quantity of toio sets that start at 21,557 yen (about $200 USD) and go up to 33,415 (about $300 USD) depending on how many craft sets you want to add on."

[Also here: http://prostheticknowledge.tumblr.com/post/161355896016/toio-programmable-robotics-toy-from-sony-uses ]
via:tealtan  robots  classideas  toys  learning  toio  sony  robotics  engineering  paper  lego 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Nimuno's Lego Tape Turns Anything Into A Lego-Friendly Surface
"Lego compatible tape is such a great idea, we’re amazed it’s not an official Lego product already.

Nimuno’s Lego tape is an adhesive plastic strip with Lego bumps on one side. It allows you to turn anything into a Lego compatible surface, from walls to toys to your own body.

This video shows the product in action."
lego 
march 2017 by robertogreco
30 years of collaboration towards empowering children to be creative thinkers on Vimeo
"For the past 30 years, the LEGO Group and the MIT Media Lab have collaborated on projects based on a shared passion for learning through play. Today, the LEGO Foundation and MIT's Lifelong Kindergarten group continue this tradition, exploring new ways to engage children in creative, playful learning experiences."
seymourpapert  lego  mitchresnick  scratch  mindstorms  lifelongkindergarten  mit  medialab  mitmedialab  education  learning  children  coding  creativity  2015 
august 2016 by robertogreco
67 Years of Lego Sets
"There are many of us—errr, people—who build stuff with Legos at all ages. Having grown up with loads of hand-me-down Legos (and having a Lego Wall-E sitting on my desk right now), I started to wonder how Legos evolved from the sets I remember from my childhood to what they are today.

As an analyst, I turned to data for answers. I found a dataset on Rebrickable (a site that shows you which Lego sets you can build from the sets and pieces you already own), which contained information on the color, number, and type of pieces in each Lego set for the past 67 years. I used Plotly and Mode Python Notebooks to explore the data."
lego  data  toys 
july 2016 by robertogreco
The Minecraft Generation - The New York Times
"Seth Frey, a postdoctoral fellow in computational social science at Dartmouth College, has studied the behavior of thousands of youths on Minecraft servers, and he argues that their interactions are, essentially, teaching civic literacy. “You’ve got these kids, and they’re creating these worlds, and they think they’re just playing a game, but they have to solve some of the hardest problems facing humanity,” Frey says. “They have to solve the tragedy of the commons.” What’s more, they’re often anonymous teenagers who, studies suggest, are almost 90 percent male (online play attracts far fewer girls and women than single-­player mode). That makes them “what I like to think of as possibly the worst human beings around,” Frey adds, only half-­jokingly. “So this shouldn’t work. And the fact that this works is astonishing.”

Frey is an admirer of Elinor Ostrom, the Nobel Prize-­winning political economist who analyzed the often-­unexpected ways that everyday people govern themselves and manage resources. He sees a reflection of her work in Minecraft: Running a server becomes a crash course in how to compromise, balance one another’s demands and resolve conflict.

Three years ago, the public library in Darien, Conn., decided to host its own Minecraft server. To play, kids must acquire a library card. More than 900 kids have signed up, according to John Blyberg, the library’s assistant director for innovation and user experience. “The kids are really a community,” he told me. To prevent conflict, the library installed plug-ins that give players a chunk of land in the game that only they can access, unless they explicitly allow someone else to do so. Even so, conflict arises. “I’ll get a call saying, ‘This is Dasher80, and someone has come in and destroyed my house,’ ” Blyberg says. Sometimes library administrators will step in to adjudicate the dispute. But this is increasingly rare, Blyberg says. “Generally, the self-­governing takes over. I’ll log in, and there’ll be 10 or 15 messages, and it’ll start with, ‘So-and-so stole this,’ and each message is more of this,” he says. “And at the end, it’ll be: ‘It’s O.K., we worked it out! Disregard this message!’ ”

Several parents and academics I interviewed think Minecraft servers offer children a crucial “third place” to mature, where they can gather together outside the scrutiny and authority at home and school. Kids have been using social networks like Instagram or Snapchat as a digital third place for some time, but Minecraft imposes different social demands, because kids have to figure out how to respect one another’s virtual space and how to collaborate on real projects.

“We’re increasingly constraining youth’s ability to move through the world around them,” says Barry Joseph, the associate director for digital learning at the American Museum of Natural History. Joseph is in his 40s. When he was young, he and his friends roamed the neighborhood unattended, where they learned to manage themselves socially. Today’s fearful parents often restrict their children’s wanderings, Joseph notes (himself included, he adds). Minecraft serves as a new free-­ranging realm.

Joseph’s son, Akiva, is 9, and before and after school he and his school friend Eliana will meet on a Minecraft server to talk and play. His son, Joseph says, is “at home but still getting to be with a friend using technology, going to a place where they get to use pickaxes and they get to use shovels and they get to do that kind of building. I wonder how much Minecraft is meeting that need — that need that all children have.” In some respects, Minecraft can be as much social network as game.

Just as Minecraft propels kids to master Photoshop or video-­editing, server life often requires kids to acquire complex technical skills. One 13-year-old girl I interviewed, Lea, was a regular on a server called Total Freedom but became annoyed that its administrators weren’t clamping down on griefing. So she asked if she could become an administrator, and the owners said yes.

For a few months, Lea worked as a kind of cop on that beat. A software tool called “command spy” let her observe records of what players had done in the game; she teleported miscreants to a sort of virtual “time out” zone. She was eventually promoted to the next rank — “telnet admin,” which allowed her to log directly into the server via telnet, a command-­line tool often used by professionals to manage servers. Being deeply involved in the social world of Minecraft turned Lea into something rather like a professional systems administrator. “I’m supposed to take charge of anybody who’s breaking the rules,” she told me at the time.

Not everyone has found the online world of Minecraft so hospitable. One afternoon while visiting the offices of Mouse, a nonprofit organization in Manhattan that runs high-tech programs for kids, I spoke with Tori. She’s a quiet, dry-­witted 17-year-old who has been playing Minecraft for two years, mostly in single-­player mode; a recent castle-­building competition with her younger sister prompted some bickering after Tori won. But when she decided to try an online server one day, other players — after discovering she was a girl — spelled out “BITCH” in blocks.

She hasn’t gone back. A group of friends sitting with her in the Mouse offices, all boys, shook their heads in sympathy; they’ve seen this behavior “everywhere,” one said. I have been unable to find solid statistics on how frequently harassment happens in Minecraft. In the broader world of online games, though, there is more evidence: An academic study of online players of Halo, a shoot-’em-up game, found that women were harassed twice as often as men, and in an unscientific poll of 874 self-­described online gamers, 63 percent of women reported “sex-­based taunting, harassment or threats.” Parents are sometimes more fretful than the players; a few told me they didn’t let their daughters play online. Not all girls experience harassment in Minecraft, of course — Lea, for one, told me it has never happened to her — and it is easy to play online without disclosing your gender, age or name. In-game avatars can even be animals.

How long will Minecraft’s popularity endure? It depends very much on Microsoft’s stewardship of the game. Company executives have thus far kept a reasonably light hand on the game; they have left major decisions about the game’s development to Mojang and let the team remain in Sweden. But you can imagine how the game’s rich grass-roots culture might fray. Microsoft could, for example, try to broaden the game’s appeal by making it more user-­friendly — which might attenuate its rich tradition of information-­sharing among fans, who enjoy the opacity and mystery. Or a future update could tilt the game in a direction kids don’t like. (The introduction of a new style of combat this spring led to lively debate on forums — some enjoyed the new layer of strategy; others thought it made Minecraft too much like a typical hack-and-slash game.) Or an altogether new game could emerge, out-­Minecrafting Minecraft.

But for now, its grip is strong. And some are trying to strengthen it further by making it more accessible to lower-­income children. Mimi Ito has found that the kids who acquire real-world skills from the game — learning logic, administering servers, making YouTube channels — tend to be upper middle class. Their parents and after-­school programs help them shift from playing with virtual blocks to, say, writing code. So educators have begun trying to do something similar, bringing Minecraft into the classroom to create lessons on everything from math to history. Many libraries are installing Minecraft on their computers."
2016  clivethompson  education  videogames  games  minecraft  digitalculture  gaming  mimiito  robinsloan  coding  computationalthinking  stem  programming  commandline  ianbogost  walterbenjamin  children  learning  resilience  colinfanning  toys  lego  wood  friedrichfroebel  johnlocke  rebeccamir  mariamontessori  montessori  carltheodorsorensen  guilds  mentoring  mentorship  sloyd  denmark  construction  building  woodcrafting  woodcraft  adventureplaygrounds  material  logic  basic  mojang  microsoft  markuspersson  notch  modding  photoshop  texturepacks  elinorostrom  collaboration  sethfrey  civics  youtube  networkedlearning  digitalliteracy  hacking  computers  screentime  creativity  howwelearn  computing  froebel 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Japan's Minimalist Version of Lego Is Actually Awesome | WIRED
"I’M GOING TO say something blasphemous: Lego bricks are ugly.

Don’t get me wrong. The little Danish building blocks have plenty of inner beauty, sure, and are one of the 20th century’s most enduring designs. They can be infinitely reconfigured, which means kids’ ideas about design can be endlessly reconfigured as well. Famous architects have said they do what they do because of Lego. Nevertheless, the plastic bricks are not pretty.

Tsumiki bricks, on the other hand, are lovely. Tokyo architecture firm Kengo Kuma and Associates made them with forest conservation organization More Trees, and bills them as “Japanese Lego.” Unlike Lego bricks, which are plastic, Tsumiki pieces are made of Japanese cedar (and manufactured using wood certified by the Forest Stewardship). And unlike the brick-shaped Lego blocks, each Tsumiki block is shaped like an inverted “V.” Triangular notches in the legs let the Tsumiki blocks wedge together, making them versatile like Lego bricks, albeit not as sturdy; some of the assembly models shown in Kuma’s Tsumiki brochure look about as solid as a house of cards. More Trees sells the blocks through its site, for about $70 a kit.

Still, Kuma—recently selected to build Japan’s 2020 Olympic stadium chosen—has created a clever spin on an age-old kind of Japanese toy. Tsumiki translates directly to “blocks,” and most traditional Tsumiki are exactly that—cubical, cylindrical, or pyramid-shaped blocks with way of latching together. Kuma’s Tsumiki are triangular, for the strength that this shape provides. All told, these popsicle stick-like blocks are much more in line with the principles of contemporary Japanese architecture than their predecessors: They’re natural in material, spatially economical, and relentlessly simple. Perfect for inspiring Japan’s next generation of architects."

[via: https://www.instagram.com/p/BBAmKfjtopJ/ ]
design  wood  toys  play  japan  lego  kengokuma  tsumiki  building  blocks 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Not-yetness | the red pincushion
"I have done several talks lately about the idea of not-yetness. It’s an idea that Jen Ross (University of Edinburgh) and I first wrote about in our chapter, Complexity, mess, and not-yetness: Teaching online with emerging technologies, to be published in the forthcoming second edition of Emerging Technologies in Distance Education. In the first edition of the book, our esteemed editor, George Veletsianos, wrote about defining emerging technologies. He wrote that emerging technologies can be both old and new technologies and they are constantly-evolving organisms that experience hype cycles. George also noted that emerging technologies satisfy two “not yet” conditions: they are not fully understood, and not fully researched.

These not-yet conditions hit home for Jen and me. Writing from a complexity theory lens, we thought of not-yetness as being related to emergence. Noel Gough (2012) defines emergence as a key attribute of most human environments and systems, and what occurs when “a system of richly connected interacting agents produces a new pattern of organization that feeds back into the system.”

In our context, emergence is allowing new ideas, new methodologies, new findings, new ways of learning, new ways of doing, and new synergies to emerge and to have those things continue to feed back into more emergence. Emergence is a good thing. For us, not-yetness is the space that allows for emergence. Not-yetness is not satisfying every condition, not fully understanding something, not check-listing everything, not tidying everything, not trying to solve every problem…but creating space for emergence to take us to new and unpredictable places, to help us better understand the problems we are trying to solve (to use Mike Caulfield’s wisdom).

This is becoming increasingly important in education, where the rhetoric surrounding educational technology pushes simplification, ease, efficiency, and measurable-everything. This rhetoric goes hand-in-hand with the accountability movements (many call it “evidence-based practice”) at play in educational contexts. Randy Bass wrote that “these pressures for accountability are making us simultaneously more thoughtful and more limited in what we count as learning.” We hear a lot about “best practices” and “what works,” which Jen and others (Sian Bayne, Hamish Macleod, and Clara O’Shea) have argued is a “totalising notion.” There are lots of ways of understanding what our students experience, lots of ways to do things “right,” lots of definitions of right.

Davis and Sumara (2008) argue that “an education that is understood in complexity terms cannot be conceived in terms of preparation for the future. Rather, it must be construed in terms of participation in the creation of possible futures” (p. 43). And yet the push for simplicity and accountability defines a pretty narrow set of possible outcomes for students. Gardner Campbell cautions us to be careful with learning outcomes statements: “Yet these {learning outcomes} are still behaviors, specified with a set of what I can only describe as jawohl! statements, all rewarding the bon eleves and marching toward compliance and away from more elusive and disruptive concepts like curiosity or wonder.” Simplification and an over-pursuit of accountability run counter to our view that education is complex, messy, creative, unpredictable, multi-faceted, social, and part of larger systems.

We argue that not-yetness helps us to make space for critical discussions and experiments with emerging technologies in a way that recognizes the beautiful complexity of teaching and learning. As Jen said in our ET4Online plenary talk, which focused on messiness and not-yetness in digital learning, “We can use it to tell new stories about what teachers, students, developers, designers and researchers are doing in our digital practices, and why it is hard, and why it matters. We can take better account of issues of power, responsibility, sustainability, reach and contact in digital education. We can be more open about the work of education.”
To that end, Jen and I write in our forthcoming chapter, “We need practices that acknowledge and work with complexity to help us stay open to what may be genuinely surprising about what happens when online learning and teaching meets emerging technologies. In this sense, our focus as educators should be on emergent situations, where complexity gives rise to ‘new properties and behaviours… that are not contained in the essence of the constituent elements, or able to be predicted from a knowledge of initial conditions’ (Mason 2008, p.2).”

So what does all of this mean for educators? Here are some ideas. Embracing not-yetness means making space for learning opportunities that:

• promote creativity, play, exploration, awe

• allow for more, not fewer, connections, more personalization (true personalization, not necessarily what has been offered to us by adaptive learning companies)

• transcend bounds of time, space, location, course, and curriculum

• encourage students to exceed our expectations, beyond our wildest outcomes, pushes back on “data science of learning” focus

• do not hand over essential university functions and important complexities over to private industry

In my talks, I shared examples of projects that I think embody or embrace not-yetness. I’ll share those examples in my follow-on post.

As I was looking at these projects, trying to better understand them, I started thinking about Legos. I love Legos. I was talking to my friend Mike Caulfield, who is at Washington State University-Vancouver about this idea and he said, “do you remember when Legos used to just be free-range Legos? Now, they are these sets that have instructions and tell you how to build exactly what they want you to build. They were trying to eliminate the problem of kids not knowing how to build Legos, but instead they also eliminated the opportunities for creative expression.”

This really hit home for me, because I was really into Legos as a kid and my son is really into Legos. I decided to run a little experiment—mostly for my own curiosity. I decided to see what would happen if I gave him the same Lego set twice and had him build it once with the instructions and once without. First, this is what happened when Vaughn had the Lego instructions (fyi–the videos have no audio):

[video]

I thought that, when I gave him the set without the instructions, he would try to copy what he had done when he had the instructions. But instead, after suspiciously confirming that he could build whatever he wanted, here is what happened…

[video]

Note that throughout the time he was building without the instructions, he was also playing. Note that he is making sounds (though there is no audio, you can clearly see he’s making the requisite “boom” and “fffffsssshhhhh” sounds a six year old makes), talking more, smiling. He’s exploring. He’s enjoying himself.

Building Legos without instructions may have seemed harder or daunting at first, but instead it opened up space for his creativity. Not-yetness—not specifying outcomes, not predicting what he would or should do, not outlining each step—opened up space for play and for the three really cool ships he built.

I know that my highly scientific experiment may not work for everyone, but what you see in these videos is one reason why we argue for not-yetness. Because of the play, the fun, the opportunity in complexity and not-yetness. The ill-defined, the un-prescribed, the messy can lead to the unexpected, the joyful. Noel Gough (2012) writes, “complexity invites us to understand that many of the processes and activities that shape the worlds we inhabit are open, recursive, organic, nonlinear and emergent. It also invites us to be skeptical of mechanistic and reductionist explanations, which assume that these processes and activities are linear, deterministic and/or predictable and, therefore, that they can be controlled (at least in principle).”

Open, recursive, organic, nonlinear…these things say to me that we can have learning that is unpredictable, fun, emergent, organic, freeing, co-developed, co-experienced, complex, deep, meaningful.

So as I looked for projects that embodied not-yetness, I kept these concepts, and my son’s Lego adventure, in mind. In my next blog post, I’ll share those examples. Stay tuned!"

[Follow-up post: http://redpincushion.us/blog/professional-development/mess-not-yetness-at-et4online/ ]
amycollier  via:steelemaley  messiness  unschooling  learning  emergent  emergence  emergentcurriculum  2015  lego  not-yetness  gardnercampbell  edtech  noelgough  pedagogy  instructions  directinstruction  mikecaulfield  brentdavis  dennissumara  complexity  curriculum  tcsnmy  howwelearn  howweteach  online  web  georgeveletsianos  emergenttechnologies  technology  simplification  efficiency  quantification  measurement  cv  hamishmacleod  clarao'shea  sianbayne  randybass  open  openness  jenross  criticalpedagogy  recursion  spiraling  rhizomaticlearning  nonlinear  deschooling  meaningmaking  understanding  depth  unpredictability  unfinished  behavior  power  responsibility  sustainability  reach  contact  lcproject  openstudioproject  teaching  education  schools  cocreation  non-linear  alinear  linearity 
december 2015 by robertogreco
A leaky rocketship / Snarkmarket
"Joining this blog was one of the most important things that ever happened to me, and that’s another way in which I can judge somewhat objectively how important it is been. In November 2008, I was on the academic job market, getting ready to interview for a few tenure-track jobs and postdoctoral fellowships, and it was weird — it was a time when people, smart people, influential people still said “you shouldn’t have a blog, you shouldn’t be on twitter, if you do these things, you should do them under pseudonyms, and if anyone asks you about it, you shouldn’t tell them, because if you blog, and it’s known that you write a blog, online, people are going to wonder whether or not you’re really serious about your work, and you just don’t want to give them any extra ammunition to wonder anything about you.”

I didn’t care. I had been waiting for one or two years, ever since Robin had suggested that maybe Snarkmarket would add a few writers and maybe I might be one of them, I think when we were on our way to the bathroom at the Museum of Modern Art on a random visit, and I was just super hungry to be handed the key to this place where I’ve been reading and writing comments since before I knew what a blog really was.

Is that still a thing, people getting excited about being able to be part of a blog? I didn’t think so, but then I became part of Paul Ford’s tilde.club and saw people falling over themselves to get an invite to SSH into a UNIX server, just to be a part of something, just to have a chance to put up some silly, low bandwidth, conceptually clever websites and chat with strangers using the UNIX terminal. It’s not like being one of the cool kids who’s in on a private beta for the latest and greatest smartphone app, where your enjoyment is really about being separate from the people who aren’t included, and the expected attitude is a kind of jaded, privileged disinterest: it’s more like getting a chance to play with the neighbor kid’s Lego set, and he has all the Legos.

Robin and Matt had crazy good Legos. I didn’t get that academic job, but I was able to take their Legos and build my way into a job writing for Wired, of all places, 30 years old and I’d never been a journalist except by osmosis and imposture here at Snarkmarket, and now I get paid every month to write for Wired, how does that happen except that this place was an extra scaffolding for all of us, for me in grad school, for Matt at newspapers across the country, for Robin at Gore TV/Current TV/Twitter, to build careers that weren’t possible for people who didn’t have that beautiful Lego scaffolding to support them (I’m wearing a sling on my arm right now with straps that wrap around my body to hold my arm in place, and a screw and washer to hold my shoulder bone together, my upper arm bone really, plus my rotator cuff, plus hold massive tendons, plus I’m thinking about those times that I would walk from my apartment in Columbus Circle down Broadway to Four Times Square in Manhattan to go to work at wired, wired isn’t there anymore, Condé Nast just moved in to one World Trade Center today, all the way downtown, but the scaffolding in Manhattan that is just constant, that is the only thing that allows the city to remake itself day after day month after month year after year, so this scaffolding metaphor is really doing something for me, plus Legos, well, Legos that just came from before, so what can I tell you, roll with it).

I don’t work at Wired, Robin doesn’t work at Twitter, Matt is at NPR, and we are where we are because of the things that we did but also because of this place. Ars Technica ran a story about it being 10 years since EPIC 2014 – I could paste the link [http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/11/epic-2014-recalling-a-decade-old-imagining-of-the-tech-driven-media-future/ ] and maybe that would be the bloggy thing to do, but you’re big boys and girls, you can Google it after you finish reading this — and there’s great interviews in there with Robin and Matt about how they made the video, and some specific names of wars and companies aside, were basically right about how technology companies were going to take the distribution and interpretation of the news away from both traditional journalism companies and the emerging open standards of the World Wide Web. I mean, isn’t that a hell of a thing, to see the future and put it in a flash movie? Anything was possible in 2004, especially if that anything Looked like a future that was vaguely uncomfortable but not so bad, really.

I turned 35 today, and I don’t really have a lot of deep thoughts about my own life or career or where I am in it. I’ve had those on other birthdays, and I’ve had them on many days in the not too distant past. Today, though, I’ve mostly felt warm and embraced by the people all around me, in my home, across the country, on the telephone, connected to me by the mails, whose books I read (and whose books publishers send to my house, my friends are writing books and their publishers send them free to my house, that’s almost as amazing as a machine that I can control that lets me read new things all day), and who were connected to me by the Internet: on twitter or Facebook, on Slack or email, by text message or text messaging’s many, many hypostases, all around me, as real to me as anyone I’ve ever imagined or read or touched, all of them, all of them warm and kind and gracious and curious about me and how I’m doing, what I’m up to, what I’m thinking, what I want to do this week or next month or when I get a chance to read that thing they sent me. it is as real to me as that invented community at the end of epic 2015 [http://epic.makingithappen.co.uk or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQDBhg60UNI ], that brilliant coda that people almost always forget, and I don’t know why because it’s actually a better prediction of our future-come-present than anything in the first video, but maybe it’s not about the New York Times, it’s just about a beautiful day outside, a traffic accident, an open door, Matt’s beautiful voice when he narrates that photograph, beckoning you to come outside to look, LOOK.

The Snarkmatrix Is infinite, the stark matrix is everywhere, the start matrix can touchdown at any point in these electronic channels and reconstitute itself, extending perpetually outward into the entire world of media and ideas and editors who are trying to understand what will happen next, and teenage kids who are trying to figure out how what they’re doing maps in any way at all to this strange, established world of culture, to writers who are anxious for any sense of community, any place to decompress between the often hostile worlds of social media and professional correspondence. People want a place, a third place, and blogs are a great form of that place, even when they’re not blogs. (I’m subblogging now. This is what it’s come to. But I think most of you feel me.)"
2014  snarkmarket  epic2014  epic2015  timcarmody  robinsloan  mattthomas  blog  blogging  writing  scaffolding  lego  snarkmatrix  looking  seeing  observing  sharing  conversation  howwelearn  howwethink  howwewrite  history  future  making  culturecreation  media  journalism  slack  email  im  twitter  facebook  socialmedia 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Brickjest - Home
"Kevin Griffith, Professor of English at Capital University, and his son Sebastian first envisioned translating David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest into Legos after reading The Brick Bible, by Brendan Powell Smith. Wallace's novel is probably the only contemporary text to offer a similar challenge to artists working in the medium of Lego. The artist in this case was Griffith's eleven-year-old son, Sebastian, who created all the scenes based on his father's descriptions of the relevant pages.

The edition of Infinite Jest used for this project is the Tenth Anniversary paperback edition, published in 2006.

The creators of this site neither expect nor intend to make money on this project."

[See also: http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/aug/27/david-foster-wallace-infinite-jest-lego ]
lego  infinitejest  davidfosterwallace  kevingriffith  sebastiangriffith 
august 2014 by robertogreco
The secret of Minecraft — The Message — Medium
"Imagine yourself acquiring the keys to a mutable world in which you can explore caves, fight spiders, build castles, ride pigs, blow up mountains, construct aqueducts to carry water to your summer palace… anything.

Imagine yourself a child, in possession of the secret knowledge.

This wouldn’t be enough on its own. Obscure techniques have been a part of video games from the beginning; Nintendo Power surely had a dusting of secret knowledge. What’s different here is that Minecraft connects this lure to the objective not of beating the game, but making more of the game.

“Game” doesn’t even do it justice. What we’re really talking about here is a generative, networked system laced throughout with secrets.

Five years in, Minecraft (the system) has bloomed into something bigger and more beautiful than any game studio — whether a tiny one like Markus Persson’s or a huge one like EA — could ever produce on its own. The scale of it is staggering; overwhelming. As you explore the extended Minecraft-verse online, you start to get the same oceanic feeling that huge internet systems like YouTube and Twitter often inspire: the mingling of despair (“I’ll never see it all”) with delight (“People made this”) with dizzying anthropic awe (“So… many… people.”)

Turns out you can do a lot with those blocks.



Imagine yourself acquiring the keys to a mutable world in which you can explore caves, fight spiders, build castles, ride pigs, blow up mountains, construct aqueducts to carry water to your summer palace… anything.

Imagine yourself a child, in possession of the secret knowledge.

***

This wouldn’t be enough on its own. Obscure techniques have been a part of video games from the beginning; Nintendo Power surely had a dusting of secret knowledge. What’s different here is that Minecraft connects this lure to the objective not of beating the game, but making more of the game.

“Game” doesn’t even do it justice. What we’re really talking about here is a generative, networked system laced throughout with secrets.

Five years in, Minecraft (the system) has bloomed into something bigger and more beautiful than any game studio — whether a tiny one like Markus Persson’s or a huge one like EA — could ever produce on its own. The scale of it is staggering; overwhelming. As you explore the extended Minecraft-verse online, you start to get the same oceanic feeling that huge internet systems like YouTube and Twitter often inspire: the mingling of despair (“I’ll never see it all”) with delight (“People made this”) with dizzying anthropic awe (“So… many… people.”)

Turns out you can do a lot with those blocks.

We’re in a new century now, and its hallmark is humans doing things together, mostly on screens, at scales unimaginable in earlier times.

In the 2010s and beyond, it is not the case that every cultural product ought to be a generative, networked system.

It is, I believe, the case that all the really important ones will be.

To ignore the creative power of all these brains—millions and millions of them, young and old—leaves too much on the table.

I’m a writer, and don’t get me wrong: To publish a plain ol’ book that people actually want to read is still a solid achievement. But I think Markus Persson and his studio have staked out a new kind of achievement, a deeper kind: To make the system that calls forth the book, which is not just a story but a real magick manual that grants its reader (who consumes it avidly, endlessly, all day, at school, at night, under the covers, studying, studying) new and exciting powers in a vivid, malleable world.

I’m not a huge Minecraft player myself—my shelter never grew beyond the rough-hewn Robinson Crusoe stage—but I look at those books and, I tell you: I am eight years old again. I feel afresh all the impulses that led me towards books and writing, toward the fantastic and science-fictional… except now, there is this other door.

It’s made of blocks, I suppose.

“A generative, networked system laced throughout with secrets.”

When you write it that way, you realize it doesn’t have to be software. This is a stretch, but you could apply that description to the greater Star Wars universe—not just the movies, but all that followed: the books, the video games, the spit-spraying backyard lightsaber battles. And, based on all the fan fiction and wizard rock they inspired, I’d say the Harry Potter books managed to boot up a generative, networked system of some sort.

But now, in the 2010s, Minecraft improves upon those examples, because it does not merely allow this co-creation but requires it. And so the burning question in my brain right now is this: What happens when we take the secret of Minecraft and apply it elsewhere, in new ways?"
minecraft  gaming  games  culture  robinsloan  2014  networks  learning  howwelearn  worldbuilding  lego  books  secrets  networkedlearning 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Fully Functioning LEGO Keyboard Is The Coolest Thing Ever | Ubergizmo
"If you’ve ever grown up playing LEGO, well you know everything you create is pretty much limited to your imagination. In fact nowadays LEGO has gotten to the point where there are creations far more impressive than they were back in the day, although admittedly much more expensive as well.
We’ve seen LEGO being used for electronics in the past, so we guess we can’t say we’re too surprised to learn that builder Jason Allemann has actually managed to piece together an actual working keyboard using bits of LEGO, and electronic components of course.

For the most part it seems that the keyboard is comprised of actual LEGO pieces, but at the same time since there aren’t LEGO pieces for certain keys on the keyboard, Alleman had improvise in certain areas, like the hilarious Caps Lock button, for example, which actually features a tiny LEGO hat (or cap, get it?).

Now we doubt that Allemann will be mass producing this LEGO keyboard, nor is he going to put this up for sale either. However for those who might be a bit more savvy around electronic components, perhaps this is a project you might want to take under consideration.

It is admittedly pretty cool and if you have a few minutes to spare, you can check out the video above in which Alleman shows off his LEGO keyboard in action, or you can head on over to Alleman’s blog for the details of how he put it all together."

[Direct link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEEzQKJfNE0 ]
lego  keyboards  2014 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Learning From Legos - NYTimes.com
"WHEN I was a boy, my father, an architect, attempted a no-toy policy, with the significant exception that he’d buy my brother and me almost anything — any birthday, holiday or restless rainy Saturday — as long as it was Lego.

And so, if I needed a gun, I made it with Legos. The same with a walkie-talkie. And a lie detector. And all the life-size artifacts — let’s face it, mostly weapons — that were then my heart’s desire. Plus every scale-model spaceship, supertruck, planetary fortress, recombinant Tyrannosaurus and transforming robot.

These days Lego — with its namesake movie’s opening weekend box office of $69 million, and with global sales revenue tripling, recession-proof, between 2007 and 2012 — appears to be something more than just a Danish construction toy based on snap-together plastic bricks. Some of the film’s success comes from the charm of its intrepid construction worker hero and goth-ninja heroine, both remarkably expressive despite the limitations of Lego figurines’ cylindrical heads and hands.

But the film’s celebration of adaptive improvisation and spontaneous mythmaking also resonates deeply with our current moment of so-called maker culture. Thanks to new rapid-prototyping technologies like computer numerical control milling and 3-D printing, we’ve seen a convergence between hacker and hipster, between high-tech coding and the low-tech artisanal craft behind everything from Etsy to Burning Man.

Whether it’s Google’s first server rack having been made of Lego-like bricks (pragmatically cheap, heat-resistant and reconfigurable) at Stanford in 1996, or the programmable Lego bricks developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Architecture Machine Group (later the Media Lab where, no coincidence, my father worked), Lego is literally built into the computational and architectural history of maker culture.

And it is, in a special way, an architectural history. “A small interior world of color and form now came within grasp of small fingers,” wrote Frank Lloyd Wright about his 9-year-old self in a 1943 autobiographical sketch. “These ‘Gifts’ came into the gray house” and “made something live here.” These were the famous Froebel Blocks, educational wooden building blocks in systematic shapes and sizes developed in the 1840s by Friedrich Froebel, the inventor of kindergarten.

“The smooth shapely maple blocks with which to build, the sense of which never afterward leaves the fingers; so form became feeling. These primary forms were the secret of all effects,” Wright recalled, “which were ever got into the architecture of the world.” Wright’s son John would complete the circle, inventing in 1916 the construction toy that came to be known as Lincoln Logs.

Architectural historians have sought origins for Wright’s innovative organic architecture — his long horizontals and pinwheel plans — in the geometries of his toys, even reconstructing his early house designs using the Froebel Blocks themselves.

I suspect that the connection isn’t that literal. But it is certainly primal, and visceral, to do with the idea of making and unmaking, and the complex relationships of parts to wholes, and brokenness to wholeness.

Once, detouring through a parking-lot flea market, I stumbled across some Froebel Blocks from Wright’s era, stacked as tightly and delicately as the dovetail joints of their original wooden box. Froebel Blocks are collectible antiques, but these were flea-market finds and not auctioneers’ goods because they had been methodically defaced by years of scribbled arabesques in Magic Marker, in a child’s hand.

I discovered that these lines traveled continuously from block to block, and that by carefully aligning the distinctly colored arcs and loops of the markings, I could reconstruct all the arrangements into which the blocks had been built — those magic marks the inadvertent blueprints for a forgotten memory palace.

I remember the fugue of that reconstruction, low on the ground below a flea market table. I remember the astonishing intimacy of visiting a stranger’s childhood, and how that intimacy somehow caused me to delay actually buying this treasure. I circled the flea market, and returned to find it gone.

Maker culture, like Lego, is about loss. All building-block toys are about appearance and disappearance, demolition and reconstruction. Maker culture, for all its love of stuff, is similarly a culture of resourcefulness in an era of economic scarcity: relentless in its iterative prototyping, its radically adaptive reuse of ready-made objects, its tendency to unmake one thing to make another — all in a new ecology of economy.

When my brother and I wanted a new toy, we cannibalized whatever we’d made before, which had been made of all the things we’d ever made before that. So of all those years of guns and starships, I have only that Wrightian feeling for form in the fingertips — and the sound, somewhere between rustling and clinking, of a thousand plastic pieces tumbling from an overturned bucket into a disorderly pile, rippling away from a seeking hand.

I remember the last thing I ever made of Lego, far later into adolescence than I should admit. It was a robot that, thanks to double-jointed hinges, could continually reconfigure itself without being disassembled. And in this sense it was anti-Lego, capable of being remade without being unmade. I knew that it was the most I could ever do in the medium, and the end of an era. It drifted back into that bucket.

A quarter-century later I saw the same bucket opened and overturned by a young nephew. And there, like a time traveler, was this same robot. Mostly just its legs, standing Ozymandias-like in a pile of bricks. I reached for it, but not faster than my nephew, who, recognizing an accretion of especially useful pieces, instantly dissolved it with his hands. One of Wright’s secrets of all effects must be this: Because nothing comes from nothing, and nothing goes entirely out of the world, you have to take things apart if you seek to put everything together."
2014  thomsdemonchaux  making  makerculture  resourcefulness  lego  invention  franklloydwright  froebelblocks  froebeltoys  building  construction  unmaking  dissolution  prototyping  adaptivereuse  reuse  scarcity  materials  toys  play  appearance  disappearance  reconstruction  ecology 
march 2014 by robertogreco
The Year of the Lego: Why the Company Thrives in China : The New Yorker
"Parents’ drive to see their children succeed is strong enough that, in Button’s eyes, Lego is competing not so much with other toymakers as with after-school extracurricular activities. Fortunately for Lego, it long ago made itself an extracurricular activity in the form of a division called Lego Education. The program, more than thirty years old, adapts Lego products to the classroom—encouraging children to use gears to learn about ratios, for example, or to program Lego robots, or to physically build the worlds they have written stories about—and it caters to students from preschool all the way through university. The program is in seventy countries so far. “It’s attempting to teach parents the value of playtime, and at the same time it’s building awareness of Lego,” Button said. Separately, the nonprofit Lego Foundation has, in the past three years, donated Lego sets to schools in China that serve more than a hundred thousand children—a small number for China, but one that makes for a revealing initiative nonetheless."
lego  toys  business  education  china  2013 
november 2013 by robertogreco
RADical Design for LEARNING -- Survey Seminar and Practical Action Laboratory
"Wtf is going on? Why are people limping out of 20 years of schooling without directed motivation, a solid internal compass, or a commitment to passionately pursuing their interests? Let's examine why in a cozy, edgy, authentic seminar where we balance theory with real-world action (praxis). We'll study the radical learning greats such as Illich, Papert, and Llewelyn, with focused readings and videos followed by discussion. Whenever possible we'll try to have the authors or their direct students available for Q&A&Q. And through hands-on labs and projects we'll design and enact experience-based transformations, like improvised music, consciousness altering strategies, electronics workshops etc. We can't wait to see you realize your wonderful ideas!"
unschooling  deschooling  education  syllabus  jaysilver  ericrosenbaum  mit  learning  mitmedialab  medialab  lifelongkindergarten  amosblanton  lego  seymourpapert  ivanillich  gracellewelyn  bilalghalib  jefflieberman  making  hackerspaces  lcproject  makerspaces  openstudioproject  grading  rubrics  assessment  diy  notbacktoschoolcamp  johnholt  piaget  mitchresnick  leahbuechley  eleanorduckworth  nuvu  nuvustudio  holeinthewall  sugatamitra  sprout  elsistema  theblueschool  computerclubhouse  drishya  bakhtiarmikhak  sudburyschools  sudburyvalleyschool  samcassat  seanstevens  frostburn  quaker  criticalmass  burningman  paulofreire  quakers  sprout&co  jeanpiaget  syllabi 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Bat, Bean, Beam: Old games
"Amongst the things that I salvaged from the house in which I grew up were four supermarket bags full of Lego. I found the stuff over a number of trips, each time marvelling at how much of it there was. As well as being practically indestructible (the only pieces of ours that ever broke were two of the large thin bases), Lego has fared remarkably well in terms of both its exchange and use value over the last half century. We had all sorts of trouble – and ultimately failed – in finding a good home to a very good library. We literally couldn’t give away the stuff, which was a source of some heartache. But Lego, it might as well be a global currency, or a precious ore. It keeps going up in price. It’s worth shipping around the world. There’s always a use for it, even in small quantities.

The last find involved one of Lego’s early electric engines, which was used to power a train’s locomotor. I vaguely remember playing with this set. Not much you could do with it, as the carriages came pretty much assembled whole. But the rest of those bags contain mostly the standard universal pieces with which I used to build houses and robots and once, I think, a football stadium. It’s a rather sharp lesson in informational entropy now. Four plastic bags’ worth of chaos."



"Totòpoli is a bafflingly elaborate horse-racing board game in two parts. First, the players lease and train the horses, as well as acquire facilities like foraging merchants and veterinary practices. This is not too dissimilar from Monopoly, and results in the accumulation of advantage and disadvantage cards, as well as special cards to forestall certain events, except instead of getting out of jail is preventing your top horse from bursting a blood vessel on the home straight. Then, once the training is completed, the board is flipped over and the race can begin. However even that phase comprises two quite different activities: the taking of bets on the outcome, with what money you have left over from part one, and the race itself. As the rulebook explains:
The winner can either be the one with the most money at the end of the race, or the one with the winning horse. This should be decided at the beginning of the race.


You’d hate to play for three solid hours and be left unsure as to who won.

Totòpoli was a lot of fun. But I rescued form the home some things that I don’t recall playing with, and probably belonged to my sister. A rather exquisite medical set, all in plastic but very detailed and missing remarkably few pieces, given how the small parts in today’s equivalents seem to explode out of the packaging and immediately get lost whenever my children are involved. I wonder if this is a function of the relative scarcity of those years."
games  boardgames  play  giovannitiso  2013  lego  gamedesign  horses  horseracing  childhood  scarcity 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Could Minecraft be the next great engineering school? - Quartz
"The game’s open, often cooperative play, peer-built environments and simplicity has drawn an army of dedicated players who often spend days tunneling, hammering and building, just for the pleasure of making."

"While serious games have been used for some time for education and awareness, Minecraft seems different, a particular tool for a particular moment when computing skills, clever engineering solutions and the ability to engage distributed groups for social good all converge. Game designer and media philosopher Ian Bogost has called Minecraft a “game about resilience…a masterful magic crayon” after a term used by Chaim Gingold to describe tools that unlock new kinds of creativity. Bogost goes one step further to liken it to “shit crayons,” like the improvised tools poet Wole Soyinka used to write his works in a Nigerian prison—a tool for emancipatory creativity under moments of stress and constraint."

[See also: "The Great Lego Minecraft Shortage of 2012: http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelwolf/2012/12/01/the-great-lego-minecraft-shortage-of-2012/ ]
play  videogames  seriousgames  gaming  games  scottsmith  ianbogost  mooc  moocs  mineraftedu  unhabitat  kibera  svenskbyggtjänst  minakvarter  myblock  mojang  blockbyblock  edg  srg  education  learning  sandboxes  deschooling  unschooling  2012  engineering  minecraft  lego  from delicious
december 2012 by robertogreco
Designing Culture | Jacobin
“Design is one of the linchpins of capitalism, because it makes alienated labor possible.”

"My main beef with that definition is that after a year in a postgraduate design program and too many hours spent between stacks of anthropology textbooks, I still can’t figure out what “form” and “culture” even mean.

design is subject to the same limitations as any other so-called creative practice, and designers are no more authors than, well, authors are.

Yes, everyone buys too much shit and poor people get exploited in the process, but forty-two years after Baudrillard’s Consumer Society we know it’s not that simple. The ideas of waste and need are monumentally more complicated than a lot of leftists are willing to admit. Who can I trust to tell me which of my needs are real? How can I know whether I’m wasting money or investing in symbolic capital?

Design’s real power is that it makes relationships and divisions between people concrete. Without physical stuff to remind us of how we supposedly differ from one another, our hierarchies would be awfully ramshackle; stripped of our possessions, categories like “class” start to look like just a bunch of learned behaviors and confused ideas.

The point would not be lost on a five-year-old, who would realize immediately that compared to her brother’s LEGOs, hers look like they were made for an idiot.

Spatial arrangements of objects in the home, for example, or the use of different farming tools at different times of year, come to stand for intangible relationships between genders, social strata and the like, thereby anchoring abstract ideas about social organization to the physical world.

Homewares companies started designing extra-low-quality furniture and crockery and marketing them to the rich as items for their servants to use, the idea being that anyone who ate and slept on stuff that bad couldn’t help but know their place.

But it wasn’t particularly important whether the servants were savvy to the situation or not, because their employers had fulfilled their real goal: they’d successfully created material environments that reassured them that they were better than the people who worked for them, which enabled them to keep acting like they actually were better.

Once you realize that all designed objects carry this sort of encrypted information about the organization of society, something amazing happens: you suddenly stop feeling bored in home furnishings stores.

Maybe the problem with designers who boast that they are “giving form to culture” is that they don’t realize how big a responsibility they’re claiming. …

That’s not to say that designers are powerless. Far from it. They occupy a nodal position in the capitalist mode of production, and they’ll be important for getting out of it. Stuff – objects, spaces, images, technologies – play just as critical a role in restructuring relations between people as they do in maintaining them, and a solar cooker or a free software application requires way more design work than a Philippe Starck lemon squeezer. But any kind of progressive work is difficult if we’re deluded about what we actually do. As designers, we’d do well to abandon preoccupations with our own ability to generate solutions, and start being more aware of the ways that we participate in the problems."
society  influence  power  history  pierrebourdieu  lego  industrialdesign  constraints  purpose  colinmcswiggen  via:litherland  2012  opinion  culture  politics  capitalism  consumerism  design  baudrillard  from delicious
september 2012 by robertogreco
Mitchel Resnick 2011 Prize Winner - YouTube
"Mitchel Resnick, Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab, develops new technologies and activities to engage people (especially children) in creative learning experiences, helping them learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. His Lifelong Kindergarten research group developed ideas and technologies underlying the LEGO Mindstorms robotics kits and the Scratch programming environment and online community, used by millions of young people around the world. He also co-founded the Computer Clubhouse project, an international network of more than 100 after-school learning centers where youth from low-income communities learn to express themselves creatively with new technologies."
mit  mitmedialab  mitchresnick  2011  lifelongkindergarten  scratch  education  learning  constructivism  projectbasedlearning  tcsnmy  schools  design  mindstorms  lego  legonxt  wedo  electronics  coding  programming  children  lcproject  teaching  pbl  medialab  from delicious
october 2011 by robertogreco
Lego combines the digital and physical in iPhone game | BappProducts | Macworld
"Danish toy company Lego is pushing its toys into the mobile age with the Life of George iPhone app, which combines a digital and physical gaming experience.

The new Lego game consists of a free iPhone app, a set of bricks and a play mat that acts as a green screen. The goal is to build the image shown on the screen as fast as possible in real life. When players finish building the model they have to take a photo of the structure with their iPhone or iPod Touch to see if they succeeded. The app will calculate a score based on accuracy and speed."
lego  games  iphone  ios  applications  play  from delicious
october 2011 by robertogreco
Mitch Resnick: The Role of Making, Tinkering, Remixing in Next-Generation Learning | DMLcentral
"…best learning experiences come when people are actively engaged in designing things, creating things, & inventing things—expressing themselves.

…if we want people to really be fluent w/ new technologies & learn through their activities, it requires people to get involved as makers—to create things.

…best experiences come when…making use of the materials in the world around you, tinkering w/ things…coming up w/ a prototype, getting feedback…iteratively changing it…making new ideas, over & over…adapting to the current situation & the new situations that arise.

In our after school programs, we see many kids who have been unsuccessful in traditional educational settings become incredibly successful when they are given the opportunity to make, tinker, & remix.

…there are lessons for schools from the ways that kids learn outside of schools…

Over time, I do think we need to rethink educational institutions as a place that embraces playful experimentation."
tcsnmy  mitchresnick  mit  mitmedialab  medialab  scratch  mindstorms  lego  informallearning  learning  unschooling  deschooling  schools  play  prototyping  making  doing  remix  remixing  remixculture  self-expression  technology  lcproject  howardrheingold  makers  creators  iteration  iterative  wedo  lifelongkindergarten  education  experimentation  invention  feedback  2011  toshare  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
habits make us blind
"spanish architecture studio espai MGR's 'habits make us blind' is a photographic series of work which addresses the vacant lots in downtown valencia, which they pass everyday.

'...like an invisible metastasis generated in heart of the city & extending to all its arteries. neighborhoods that, although having huge potential, lay unused, not promoting a good means of sustainable development. we recognize this as a typical theme in central neighborhoods in valencia. sometimes, the tourists are the city's inhabitants pay attention to the issue at hand for a moment because secondary problems stemming from those spaces implied affect us directly. however, in most cases, they are only a part of daily way of life. this photographic body of work aims to call people's attention to these neglected spaces…demands the recreational use of these vacant lots as seen through the eyes of a child, by filling them w/ impossible constructions, surrealistic installations in line w/ the problem…'"
architecture  design  lego  spain  españa  photography  noticing  infilling  neglect  neglectedspaces  sustainability  development  espaiMGR  valencia  2011  classideas  observation  habits  blindness  blindspots  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
Networked Knowledge and Combinatorial Creativity | Brain Pickings
"In May, I had the pleasure of speaking at the wonderful Creative Mornings free lecture series masterminded by my studiomate Tina of Swiss Miss fame. I spoke about Networked Knowledge and Combinatorial Creativity, something at the heart of Brain Pickings and of increasing importance as we face our present information reality. The talk is now available online — full (approximate) transcript below, enhanced with images and links to all materials referenced in the talk."

"This is what I want to talk about today, networked knowledge, like dot-connecting of the florilegium, and combinatorial creativity, which is the essence of what Picasso and Paula Scher describe. The idea that in order for us to truly create and contribute to the world, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these pieces and build new castles."

"How can it be that you talk to someone and it’s done in a second? But it IS done in a second — it’s done in a second and 34 years. It’s done in a second and every experience, and every movie, and every thing in my life that’s in my head.” —Paula Scher
creativity  behavior  planning  process  combinatorialcreativity  combinations  lego  networkedknowledge  networks  mariapopova  florilegium  picasso  paulascher  pentagram  alberteinstein  breakthroughs  stevenjohnson  ideas  alvinlustig  rogersperry  jacquesmonod  biology  richarddawkins  science  art  design  wheregoodideascomefrom  books  designthinking  insight  information  ninapaley  oliverlaric  similarities  proximity  adjacentpossible  everythingisaremix  curiosity  choice  jimcoudal  claychristensen  intention  attention  philosophy  buddhism  work  labor  kevinkelly  gandhi  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
How I Failed, Failed, and Finally Succeeded at Learning How to Code - Technology - The Atlantic
"Kids are naturally curious. They love blank slates: a sandbox, a bag of LEGOs. Once you show them a little of what the machine can do they'll clamor for more. They'll want to know how to make that circle a little smaller or how to make that song go a little faster. They'll imagine a game in their head and then relentlessly fight to build it.

Along the way, of course, they'll start to pick up all the concepts you wanted to teach them in the first place. And those concepts will stick because they learned them not in a vacuum, but in the service of a problem they were itching to solve.

Project Euler, named for the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler, is popular (more than 150,000 users have submitted 2,630,835 solutions) precisely because Colin Hughes…crafted problems that lots of people get the itch to solve. And it's an effective teacher because those problems are arranged like the programs in the ORIC-1's manual, in what Hughes calls an "inductive chain":"
education  learning  teaching  history  howto  coding  programming  curiosity  sandboxes  lego  blankslates  projecteuler  problemsolving  math  mathematics  themathematician'slament  paullockhart  curriculum  collegeboard  testing  rote  rotelearning  criticalthinking  jamessomers  colinhughes  basic  games  gaming  play  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  pedagogy 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Lego Carcassonne
"After seeing the Lego Catan doing the rounds a couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd like to have a go at something similar. I've been playing a lot of Carcassonne on the iPhone recently (Hit me up for a game, I'm really bad: cal at iamcal.com) so that was the natural choice. The tiles are square, so that immediately made it much simpler."
boardgames  carcassone  tiles  lego  games  play  calhenderson  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
Makedo construction toy makes Lego look positively limiting - Core77
"From a cognitive development standpoint, you could argue that the strength of Lego is also its only drawback: The parts are standardized. Which is to say, a child never has to think about the connections or the materials, as they're both fixed. They are free to create--as long as they remain within the boundaries of what the building blocks are capable of.

Enter Makedo, which is something like Lego for the real world. It's a system of connectors that lets the child join a variety of material together, paper cups, cardboard, empty boxes, and whatever else you've got laying around. A series of simple (and safely blunted) tools enable the child to perform primitive construction operations and modify materials to accept the connectors, truly reinforcing the notion that you can shape the world around you with a little imagination and elbow grease." [Forgot about this, glad to see it pop up again.]
papercraft  core77  lego  play  make  making  cardboard  makedo  diy  edg  srg  glvo  toys  building  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco
drawRobot 1.0 | "steve" on Vimeo
"steve stretches his legs (nxt servos) for the first time. controlled manually via the keyboard drawing a figure eight."
drawbots  robots  tomake  edg  projects  drawing  lego  legomindstorms  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
YouTube - Lego NXT signature bot
"Using the record/play block this bot can mimic your signature. This one writes something like pep~"
lego  legomindstorms  drawing  drawbots  robots  edg  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
YouTube - MøBot: DeLeon II [drawbot]
"Newest evolution in the DrawBot series. This video demonstrates the new stylus arm design as well as sets DeLeon on task to begin drawing. I'm inclined to return to the wheel-based system for mobility as it is much more accurate. I really like the the relationship to crop-circles. I think this is starting to go somewhere."

[See also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR8rZnNgNdc ]
lego  legomindstorms  drawbots  robots  drawing  projects  edg  tomake  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
4 (More) Tools for Teaching Kids to Code
"We wrote a story earlier this fall with 4 suggestions for some of our favorite programming tools aimed at kids. And that list is worth repeating: the graphical programming language Scratch, the programmable robotics of Lego Mindstorms, the 3D programming environment Alice, and the Android App Inventor.

But in the spirit of National Computer Education Week and the hopes that we can encourage more kids not just to use technology but to build technology, here's a list of 4 more: Kodu, Small Basic, Arduino, and Squeak"
programming  education  children  coding  tools  scratch  kodu  microsoft  arduino  android  edg  srg  tcsnmy  lego  legomindstorms  alice  androidappinventor  smallapp  squeak  glvo  xbox360  mac  windows  via:thelibrarianedge  teaching  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
New Scientist TV: World's oldest computer recreated in Lego
"It's the oldest known computer, a relic dating back 2000 years and rediscovered at the bottom of the ocean. Now designer Andrew Carol has brought it back to life - using Lego.

That's not to say this project was child's play - making the device was an engineering feat that required specialist Lego, and a lot of patience (see stop motion video above)."
lego  antikytheramechanism  technology  history  computers  computing  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
Ayelet Waldman, Author of Bad Mother and Red Hook Road, on Writing Well - WSJ.com
"A scene, unlike a description, not only has a beginning, a middle and an end, but by the time it’s over, something has changed, something has happened without which the story can’t continue. Each scene must be necessary to the narrative…

When rewriting, I inevitably find passages that aren’t necessary to the plot…Usually I’m convinced that these passages are among the most gorgeous things I’ve ever written. It’s then that I remind myself of Faulkner’s painful advice: ‘In writing, you must kill your darlings.’…

Good narrative writing must defend itself. Every sentence, even every word, must be there for a reason beyond its beauty. It must move the story along, pushing it toward what comes next. Good writing can and should be beautiful, but it must never be only beautiful. Bore-geous is always too much, and never enough."

[via: http://ayjay.tumblr.com/post/1714019974/a-scene-unlike-a-description-not-only-has-a ]
writing  lego  ayeletwaldman  editing  classideas  beauty  killingyourdarlings  storytelling  williamfaulkner  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Paperworks / Padworks | the human network
"We know that children learn by exploration – that’s the foundation of Constructivism – but we forget that we ourselves also learn by exploration. The joy we feel when we play with our new toy is the feeling a child has when he confronts a box of LEGOs, or new video game – it’s the joy of exploration, the joy of learning. That joy is foundational to us. If we didn’t love learning, we wouldn’t be running things around here. We’d still be in the trees."
education  future  ipad  paper  sharing  technology  web  markpesce  gmail  google  cloudcomputing  computing  play  constructivism  twitter  facebook  dropbox  paperless  learning  unschooling  deschooling  2010  schools  tcsnmy  curriculum  wikipedia  cloud  lego  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
suckerPUNCH » barrio de los paracaidistas
"anthony STAHL + david LEE: This tower is a frame-work for a new vertical city. Containing roadways, open plazas and parks; the nature and function of the ‘tower’ is to provide unlimited potential for new urban and vertical environment. By respecting the communal aspects of the city while allowing growth, this new urban frame-work challenges the frozen and static quality of current tower typology. The architecture within the tower develops over time, creating a dynamic composition of vertical neighborhoods that grow around and into one another. Sub-public and private spaces evolve organically, creating complex urban spaces similar to those of historic Mexico. The meaning of the tower is a living being that breathes in the city and is truly defined by Mexican culture and people."

[via: http://www.warrenellis.com/?p=10232 ]
architecture  design  barriodeparacaidistas  mexico  mexicodf  df  losangeles  lego  vertical  density  mexicocity  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Playful Inventions and Explorations: What’s to Be Learned from Kids? | Architectradure
[direct link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3jI19vR5bI ]

"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."
play  curiosity  lego  jeanpiaget  imagination  creativity  innovation  invention  tinkering  digitalnatives  self-directedlearning  tcsnmy  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  autodidacts  edithackermann  design  technology  children  piaget 
july 2010 by robertogreco
LEGO Educates Kids About the Wonders of Renewable Energy | Sustainability | Fast Company
"There's no better way to make change than by teaching the kiddies well, right? That's presumably the thinking behind LEGO's new Renewable Energy Add-On Set, a supplement to the LEGO Simple & Motorized Mechanisms Set."
lego  tcsnmy  edg  srg  renewable  energy  sustainability 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Built to Last - The Slow Issue - GOOD
"As an inventor, Saul Griffith has spent a lot of time thinking about how to make useful things. Griffith developed innovative designs for low-cost prescription glasses and energy-producing kites, founded the DIY website Instructables, and created a comprehensive carbon calculator called WattzOn. He was also awarded a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2007. Recently, onstage at high-profile conferences such as TED and PopTech, Griffith has been arguing that we need to stop buying things and then throwing them away so quickly. In short, we need more “heirloom design.”"
glvo  heirloomdesign  saulgriffith  slow  slowdesign  philosophy  green  sustainability  design  lego 
january 2010 by robertogreco
LEGO® CL!CK: Find your inspiration.
A LEGO aggregator (featured, posts, videos, photos, tweets). Can't find an RSS feed though - pity. Also available: a LEGO photo iPhone application.

[via: http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/16/view/8617/lego-photo-iphone-app.html ]
lego  iphone  applications  twitter  videos  photography  aggregator  ios 
december 2009 by robertogreco
xkcd - Lego
"#1: When you take apart a Lego house and mix the pieces into the bin, where does the house go? #2. It's in the bin. #1: No, those are just pieces. They could become spaceships or trains. The house was an arrangement. The arrangement doesn't stay with the pieces and it doesn't go anywhere else. It's just gone. #1 [Checks off "Organ Donor" box]"
organdonation  organs  lego  humor  xkcd 
november 2009 by robertogreco
A Common Nomenclature for Lego Families by Giles Turnbull - The Morning News
"Thousands of different Lego exist, yet when your seven-year-old asks for “a clippy bit,” you know exactly what to hand him. GILES TURNBULL surveys a caucus of children and determines a common nomenclature."

[New URL: http://www.themorningnews.org/article/a-common-nomenclature-for-lego-families ]
culture  children  play  folksonomy  names  linguistics  words  taxonomy  language  writing  nomenclature  lego  slang  toys  glvo  edg  srg  naming 
november 2009 by robertogreco
There is no single-use Lego | Quiet Babylon
"I bought a pile of the standard bricks and – as an experiment – this Star Wars kit to see how ridiculous the pieces were. On the box, it appears to be made of all-kinds of single-use bits. Building it told a different story. The feet of the walker turn out to be the same part as the bodies of the Droids. Some of the joints are re-purposed guns. There are dozens of little clever things so that as you follow the instructions, there is moment after moment of discovery. “Oh, I can do THAT with that part?”"
creativity  toys  childhood  lego  glvo  edg  srg  play  timmaly 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Snarkmarket: The Tao of Lego
"Yeah, I guess I don't buy the Indiana Jones Legos = decline of childhood stuff.

1) It's fun and useful to follow instructions and put things together. Imitatio!

2) It's fun to ignore instructions and build whatever you want - especially with the terrific pieces that you get with the customized sets.

3) Even if you don't break down the assembled Legos, it's more fun to build an Indiana Jones or Harry Potter castle than it is to buy one that's pre-assembled.

I think 2 and 3 are basically incontestable, but 1 is the crux, right? But I think it's the most important!"
lego  creativity  make  childhood  toys  children  robots  snarkmarket  robinsloan 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Fantasy LEGO Mindstorms Sensors Made Real | GeekDad | Wired.com
"Christoph Bartneck, an industrial design professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the NetherlandsDenmark, teaches a course I would have killed to take: a master class to create expansion packs for Lego Mindstorms NXT. The students have to make working sensors that go beyond what Lego and third-party sensor makers (and others) already provide. Here are some samples from the students’ projects: GPS Sensor, Wireless Sensor Bridge, Optical Mouse Sensor"
sensors  wireless  lego  mindstorms 
june 2009 by robertogreco
The Long Tail - Wired Blogs
"as sometimes happens, I got obsessed, while he moved on to other things. In the past two years, I've made cellphone UAVs, Basic Stamp UAVs, autonomous blimps, and a true gyros+acellerometers+GPS autopilot version of the Lego Mindstorms UAV that's now in the Lego Museum in Billund, Denmark. We set up an amateur UAV community at DIYDrones.com, and get thousands of people each day exploring this new dimension of aerial robotics. Now this project has gone pro. Our first commercial autopilot, the Arduino-compatible ArduPilot, has been released and our goal of taking an order or two of magnitude out of the cost of an autopilot has been achieved: it's $24.95!"
lego  arduino  chrisanderson  uav  autopilot  electronics  microcontrollers  howto  hardware  surveillance  diy  make  gadgets  drones 
february 2009 by robertogreco
I LEGO N.Y. - Abstract City Blog - NYTimes.com
"During the cold and dark Berlin winter days, I spend a lot of time with my boys in their room. And as I look at the toys scattered on the floor, my mind inevitably wanders back to New York."
lego  illustration  art  photography  nyc  toys  genius  abstract  humor  visualization  glvo 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Lego announces line of digital cameras, PMPs, etc. for your teeny human friends - Engadget
"Lego's just announced that it's teamed with Digital Blue to bring out a line of digital cameras, PMPs, and walkie talkies for children. As you can see, the products will have the familiar "Lego" look to them (though not constructed out of actual bricks), and though we haven't heard anything in the way of specs yet, they're said to be arriving this summer with prices ranging from $19 - $60. Our opinion of these is currently hanging out in the "not really excited" file, but outfit these suckers a set of wheels and we'll probably be sold. Second photo after the break."
lego  gadgets  walkietalkies  cameras 
january 2009 by robertogreco
In search of a beautiful mind - The Boston Globe
"He was long a jewel of the MIT faculty. Now, after a devastating brain injury, mathematician Seymour Papert is struggling bravely to learn again how to think like, speak like, be like the man of genius he was."
genius  learning  neuroscience  mit  seymourpapert  biography  brain  health  science  autodidacts  autodidactism  lego  olpc  education  children  mind  mindstorms  constructivism  unschooling  deschooling  recovery  rehabilitation  autodidacticism 
august 2008 by robertogreco
WeDo: LEGO's new robotics system for elementary schools - Boing Boing Gadgets
"LEGO has announced a low-end, tethered robotics system called "WeDO" designed to be used in classrooms of elementary-aged children. It won't replace Mindstorms, but instead serve as an intermediate step between the more fully featured robotics platform a
lego  wedo  robots  robotics  programming  children  make  edg  coding  teaching 
july 2008 by robertogreco
OLPC News Forum: LEGO Announces WeDo Robotics System for the OLPC XO, Intel Classmate and desktop
"The LEGO Group's educational division, today announced LEGO(R) Education WeDo(TM), a new product that redefines classroom robotics, making it possible for primary school students 7-11 years of age to build and program their own solutions"

[via: http://www.olpcnews.com/use_cases/technology/olpc_and_lego_match.html ]
lego  olpc  robots  children  make  edg  glvo  classideas 
july 2008 by robertogreco
littleBits
"library of discrete electronic components pre-assembled in tiny circuit boards. Just as Legos allow you to create complex structures with very little engineering knowledge, littleBits are simple, intuitive, space-sensitive blocks that make prototyping wi

[via: http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/06/littlebits_discrete_elect.html ]
electronics  microcontrollers  diy  make  toys  classideas  glvo  edg  lego 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: Reconsidering the Lego Robotics... [Bill Kerr makes a great point about class time in the comments.]
"robotics programs in primary and secondary schools...many have been successes, but limited successes...relative expansion of Lego robotics in schools has coincided with a virtual collapse of computer science US K-12 schools in general."
robots  robotics  computers  compsci  schools  education  learning  children  lego 
may 2008 by robertogreco
LEGO Universe
"homepage of LEGO Universe, the developing massive multiplayer online game (mmog) for LEGO lovers!"
games  gaming  interactive  lego  mmo  socialnetworking  toys  videogames  construction  building 
may 2008 by robertogreco
LEGO Universe Details | Rock, Paper, Shotgun
"This could be the first children’s MMO with mass appeal....will be a fully fledged LEGO building system in the game, and that users will even be able to order their creations and have the actual plastic kit delivered to their door…"
lego  MMO  play  games  glvo  children  videogames  gaming  creation  building  construction 
may 2008 by robertogreco
greg.org: the making of: Lego City Of The Future, By Norman Mailer & Friends
"In Mary Dearborn's Mailer: A Biography, the construction of the Lego City is portrayed as nothing less than a bold attempt by the author "to make a revolution in the consciousness of our time"--if only they could've gotten it out of the writer's living r
normanmailer  play  lego  architecture  utopia  design  cities  literature 
april 2008 by robertogreco
LEGO-touch for iPhone and iPod Touch
"What if you could virtually build, imagine, share, and play with LEGOs right on your iPhone or iPod Touch? PlayNYC's LEGO-touch application concept has been dreamed up just in time for Apple's SDK."
interactivity  iphone  lego  play  applications  software  ios 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Why We Banned Legos: Exploring power, ownership, and equity in an early childhood classroom - Rethinking Schools Online - Vol. 21 No. 2 - Winter 2006
"opportunity to launch critical evaluation ...inequities of private ownership & hierarchical authority on which it was founded...promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation."
education  learning  children  cooperation  culture  democracy  anarchism  lego  psychology  capitalism  politics  socialmedia  socialization  socialism  rules  schooling  philosophy  play  teaching  toys  freedom  collectivism  collaboration  behavior  bullying  childhood  homeschool  deschooling  unschooling  parenting  pedagogy  economics  hierarchy  government  schools  values  wealth  society  law  games  ethics 
february 2008 by robertogreco
The Good Old Days - Chris Hecker's Website
"Yes, this catalog for a commercial product just told you not to buy more of its product, it told you how to conserve, improvise, Do It Yourself, and work around a problem with a shoe box. Those were the good old days."
play  lego  retro  toys  unproduct  sustainability  creativity  children  via:blackbeltjones 
january 2008 by robertogreco
LEGO LEGACY
"NOW that Norman Mailer has passed on, the big question is: Who gets his Legos? The incendiary novelist built a 15,000- piece "City of the Future" with two pals in his Brooklyn apartment - but where it will go next, nobody knows."
normanmailer  lego  cities  art  future 
november 2007 by robertogreco
First Pics of Bug Labs Open-Source Hardware
"The company is creating a Lego-like hardware platform that tinkerers and engineers can use to create their own digital devices. I visited their offices in New York earlier this week and played around with a prototype."
prototyping  components  computer  convergence  diy  electronics  hardware  lego  microcontrollers  Linux  open  opensource  platform  technology  trends  futurism  innovation 
november 2007 by robertogreco
BBC NEWS | Technology | Virtual worlds threaten 'values'
"The challenge ahead is this - to ensure that virtual worlds are increasingly places that offer real meaning to their lives and in the real world to learn from the sense of community and collaboration that's been experienced in virtual worlds," he said.
children  consumerism  culture  society  virtual  online  internet  values  technology  socialsoftware  socialnetworks  habbo  lego 
november 2007 by robertogreco
RussellBeattie.com - Lego Rocks (Redux)
"I was checking out a graphic design blog called FFFFound! and saw these great ads for Lego. They just capture everything that's great about them, no?"
lego  branding  advertising  toys  imagination  images  graphics  design  creativity  kids  children  play  robots 
september 2007 by robertogreco
Monument (If it Bleeds, it Leads)
"In this piece a computer program continuously scans the headlines of 4,500 English-language news sources around the world, looking for people who have been reported killed. Each time it finds an article, an algorithm determines the number of deaths, and
art  code  installation  design  visualization  news  rss  technology  software  lego  mindstorms  media  internet 
august 2006 by robertogreco
nxtbot.com Blog (NXT Mindstorms blog)
"Covering the world of consumer and personal robotics"
lego  robots  education  make  blogs  mindstorms 
january 2006 by robertogreco
LEGO.com About us - LEGO Company - PressRoom
"LEGO Group today announces LEGO® MINDSTORMS™ NXT, a new system that redefines the consumer robotics category the company created in 1998."
toys  fun  design  robots  make  lego 
january 2006 by robertogreco
Thoughts About Photography: Medium Format Pinhole Lego Camera
"After making the Lego conversion of my old Polaroid 95a, I decided to tackle another Lego challenge: a medium format Pinhole Lego Camera"
photography  howto  make  gadgets  lego 
october 2005 by robertogreco
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