Today I checked out the newly re-opened Thinkery, an interactive children’s museum in Austin, TX. Many of the displays reminded me of the Exploratorium in San Francisco, and as I walked through the maze of giddy children maneuvering life-sized pulleys and molding magnetic clay, I realized this is exactly how I would have loved to go to school.
Schools & Interactive Museums: Why can’t they be more alike?
Over the last year in particular there has been a surge of attention, funding, and ideas in “EdTech” — with so much noise in the market now it’s easy to feel overwhelmed as an educator, administrator, or entrepreneur. And now everyone is asking, what’s going to be the next big thing as we launch into 2014? My hope? That we start innovating the physical world around us and put the devices and apps aside – well, mostly aside.
What if we started renovating every school and playground around the country to have wind tunnels, sensors on slides, and greenhouses? For the amount of money that some of these tech companies are raising from Venture Capitalists, we could certainly afford some investment in the infrastructure of the environment where we are expecting kids to be creative, imaginative, and curious.
Blending the maker space effort into actual school buildings I would support whole-heartedly. Let’s not have to wait until Saturdays to go to the local interactive museum to inspire kids, let’s inspire them every day in their school!