Computer as Paintbrush: Technology, Play and the Creative Society

I read an interesting article on:

Computer as Paintbrush: Technology, Play and the Creative Society.

It raises the relevant issues of computers becoming a mindless activity for children, consuming too much of their time in unproductive learning environments.

“In recent years, a growing number of educators and psychologists have expressed concern that computers are stifling children’s learning and creativity, engaging children in mindless interaction and passive consumption.”

Encouraging educators to view computers not as information machines but as blank canvas where the paintbrush can experiment with creative design and expression, we are challenged to consider the computer as a new medium for playful learning.

Children should be engaged in playful learning environments where they can explore, experiment, design and invent. Playful learning should not be confused with ‘edutainment’. The word edutainment suggests education + entertainment. In both of these, a service is offered. For example, teachers and schools offer education; studios, directors and actors provide entertainment. Edutainment is also designed in such a way that the one being ‘edutained’ is the passive receiver. But that is not the way the most effective learning occurs. In fact, you are most likely to enjoy more and learn more when you are an active participant (Bruner, 1963).

Research also shows that children’s best learning experiences are not when they are simply engaging by interacting with materials, but when they are active in the process of designing, creating and inventing with them. New technologies on their own can not, no matter how ingenious or innovative they are, ensure playful learning experiences.

Our ultimate goal as teachers is not to focusing on creative technologies but rather, on fostering creative thinking and expression in children when they are interacting with computer technology.

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