(written with Susan Jordan, from newsletter)

The purpose of education is to teach kids how to become critical and creative thinkers. It’s about the process, not the end product. When children are learning, you can get inside their mind and break apart what they are doing to find out what they know and where they need to grow.

The brain thinks visually. Squeak Etoys takes full advantage of this by being a cognitive bridge that takes traditional concepts and connects them to 21st century thinking skills and computer programming content. Etoys appeals to students emotionally as something fun and exciting. When you link a child’s emotions to something full of rigor and relevance, you create a permanent connection in a child’s brain between fun and problem solving.

Etoys helps kids conquer their fear of being wrong! Just like any inventor, they must troubleshoot to make their storybook characters come to life. The level of critical and creative thinking it takes to integrate computer programming skills into the creation of a story is exponential compared to writing a story with a pencil and paper. It is impossible to achieve this level of learning the old fashioned way. There is no comparison. Etoys has the rigor and relevance that teachers seek for their students with the added benefit of fun!

As Seymour Papert said and the children in our Immokalee pilot echo, “This is the hardest fun they’ve ever had!”

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