As Gary shares you feel you know him and that he’s that interesting Rickles’esque character that you hope will hold forth around the fireplace over hot chocolate. Gary points to what should be important and reminds us that it really is. 

Gary focuses on the new things that are possible with computers. He wants us to stop doing incremental things to improve the system that we already have. 

Gary’s Constructing Modern Knowledge Is an opportunity for educators to meet and build, think, reason, design, imagine and begin to think about the powerful opportunities that exist right beside the normal things we do each day. Gary sees lost chances and reminds us not to miss them. 

His obsessions with invention, tinkering becomes mine as I listen to him and I hope people sitting around me are being affected in the same way. I am sure that it is crucial that we unleash kids’ minds in this time and it was probably always important, we just didn’t do it.

Letting kids make things, build things and invent things with the tools and resources we now have access to is what Gary wants us to think about doing. “To understand is to invent.” Piaget

“Knowledge is a consequence of experience.” Gary Stager

I’m taking notes at random as Gary talks and I apologize for the all over the road nature of this post. 

What I’m struck by years after the first time I saw Gary is that he pushes the arts, much of what he says hints at a return to the Arts & Crafts movement. A digital Arts & Crafts movement where people create and build with todays available tools s intriguing to be. In the process of “making” kids understand deeply the ideas, theories and concepts underlying the project. 

PBL sets a potential stage for the passions Gary shares. In the work of the past five years with my colleague Ginger Lewman we have witnessed much about what building and inventing looks like in the classroom. Engagement is a natural byproduct of systems that value student ideas and passions because personal ownership matters.

As Gary shows us kids owning their learning, I sit here reconfirmed in my own passion for helping teachers let kids learn my doing meaningful work. Gary cooks with technology on a geeky level where paint colors are zeroes and ones and paint brushes are wires and capacitors. 

“We didn’t know what was impossible so we thought everything was possible.” Gary Stager

“There’s an awful lot of computers and not a lot of computing.” Gary Stager

Maker fairs are events where people share the things they create.

Reggio Emilia Is a city where the focus of the educational approach is aligned with Gary’s philosophy of learning and empowerment. This approach looks at valuing family and organic, more naturalistic learning. Empowering kids in a positive nurturing environment is what’s going on.

The best gift I get from Gary is deep thought, he adds many new variables to my cognitive cooking process. He reminds me that the world is full of spices and many new ones and that we don’t have to keep making educational meatloaf. 

If the classroom should be a laboratory and a creation space there is no better starting line than listening to Gary. He challenges me and others with a direct approach that divorces us from ideas we weren’t married to anyway. You can’t sit idly by when listening to him. He reaches into your school lunch box and smashes your peanut butter sandwich. Unless you totally ignore Gary you have to re-examine what you believe about education. Renting the edge of a notion without fulling understanding it or being intentional about it is a bad thing when we’re teaching in real time. 

Pride based change and building pride through valuing kids’ creations and thought products is a way Gary suggests communities can improve the situations for learners and the community too.

Gary talks and I think and this is what education should be. He talks about good prompts and he does this constantly. He talks about art and valuing things we don’t currently measure.

Competent Curriculum Free children Inspired by this video where a young lady shares he passions for electrical understanding and much more. Context drives the passion.

Tags: classroom, education, kevin, thinking, value

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