Thinking about Thinking

Since I’ve been working on innovation and play, I have noticed a few articles related either directly or tangentially.

How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn

The Internet puts back together all the things the Machine Age broke down: the separation of thinking from making, the separation of thinking from doing, and the separation from kids and their communities. We must break out of the four-walled classroom model and teach children how to use human resources and digital resources at their disposal. That’s a thought process; it’s not a technology process.

More than Child’s Play: Ability to Think Scientifically Declines as Kids Grow Up

To see whether children understand this concept, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University presented 60 four- and five-year-olds with a challenge. The researchers showed the kids that certain plastic beads, when placed individually on top of a special box, made green LED lights flash and music play. Scientists then took two pairs of attached beads, one pair glued together and the other separable, and demonstrated that both pairs activated the machine when laid on the box. That raised the possibility that only one bead in a pair worked. The children were then left alone to play. Would they detach the separable pair and place each bead individually on the machine to see which turned it on?

They did, the scientists reported in September in the journal Cognition. So strong was the kids’ sense that they could only figure out the answer by testing the components of a pair independently that they did something none of the scientists expected: when the pair was glued together, the children held it vertically so that only one bead at a time touched the box. That showed an impressive determination to isolate the causal variables, says Stanford’s Noah Goodman: “They actually designed an experiment to get the information they wanted.” That suggests basic scientific principles help very young children learn about the world.

Very interesting stuff.

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