(from newsletter)

As I watched the videos of the children and their XOs, it sure looked like a lot of fun! Some of the best learning I have ever experienced came in the guise of doing something interesting and often goal-oriented.

While some may enjoy learning everything and anything without a context, this is not the norm (from what I have seen). I never did read the dictionary. Learning while doing was something I learned as a teaching technique while working with Peter Coad. When we combined courseware and lesson plans with trying to accomplish a goal, the learning took on new meaning.

You can see the same thing with the children and their Waveplace projects. Though the typical learning was through the mentors and “doing,” you could even see some children mentoring their peers. The goal of making a story and the items in it do something is a strong force for causing the children to seek our information, to try things, to experiment.

My three children have been in the Quaker education process (our son is now at Penn State). My twin girls are currently finishing up 7th grade. I can see the same benefit to their learning when they apply the elements being learned to a project or an interesting context.

Admittedly, this is a harder teaching method, as mentoring is much more hands-on. However, having personally mentored hundreds of software developers in the realm of object-oriented and agile methods, I can attest that the lessons sink in much better.

For the children and their XOs, I think the subtlety is about learning to learn by exploring, by doing, and by helping each other, and by accepting help from mentors.

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