Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blog of the Day

A grandfather's observations of a Montessori classroom.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

You can't do that on an ipad


You asked me what Dr. Montessori would say about the ipad.

Look at the pictures of POS middle school students IN ACTION. You can’t do that on an I-pad.

How about a 2 ½ yr old? Have you seen this video? It is quite amazing to see a toddler navigate this sophisticated electronic tool so easily.

And yet…

It is two dimensional rather than three dimensional, virtual rather than actual, visual rather than tactile – it is experience once removed, a representation of reality rather than reality itself.

That said, e-readers such as Kindle and now I-pad (which is a cross between a kindle and an iphone), challenge the supremacy of the printed book. In fact, I believe they will finally put the printed book on the shelf (This is a photograph of “The World Book Encyclopedia” – one of my creations: remember "books on tape"? This is “tape on books”).

We are moving the Post Oak School library into the atrium of the school (the room where we held the AMI open board meeting several years ago) because we need space for a new upper elementary classroom and it is going where the library is currently located. My question now is whether we will ever again need a large, wonderful room to house books. How soon will we convert to a nice room with comfortable chairs and tables and a kindle for every kinder? Cushing Academy in Boston has already done that.

The ipad extends the medium into photos and videos and links…and also has the capacity for notation, highlighting, and generally making the book your own. You’ll be able to carry around a full library in your hand. No more spinal injuries from text-book-laden back packs.

There is a place for the ipad in the Montessori world unless we want to crawl into a cave.

But we must also crawl into caves…exploring the real world, counting bats, harvesting guano, searching for Cro Magnon paintings of bison and mastodons, confronting our demons, adventuring…whatever real people do in real caves…even though we’ll be able to read about it on the ipad and link to the video and even play the video game “Spelunker!” – all on our ipad.