Coming soon to Office Depot
At this week’s Opal School staff meeting, we continued our research into invention education (see earlier posts here and here). We decided to start considering the inventions children might create into three big buckets:
- Systems (Amy brought up all the games children invent as part of PE)
- Art and other expressive ideas (our blog and publications are full of these, I think) and
- Technology and tools
Sarah brought forward this image that I think suggests what we might begin to see in that third bucket. The children had been working with large sheets of paper to record their thinking – but the clipboards available fit smaller sheets. They wanted to work on the carpet rather than at a table or on the tiled floor. A & S each grabbed a clipboard – and linked them together to form one large enough to carry the sheet.
When I think about this small story, it seems to fit the elements we’ve begun to describe in earlier posts: the conditions led the children to identify a problem they cared about for which no completely satisfactory tools were present. Their way of solving the problem was novel: as far as I know, no one is selling modular connecting clipboards – but I won’t be surprised to find a rack of them at an office supply store soon.
But is it useful to others? Thus far, their strategy hasn’t caught on in the classroom. I wonder whether it will. If this “invention” is brought to the group, will they start using it? Might the group start tracking the inventions their community is producing? Could naming this lead to new discoveries and innovations?
What are the children you work with inventing?
What conditions seem to support those inventions?
Want to read more about invention? Here are a few of the texts we’re paying attention to:
- Inventology: How We Dream Up Things That Change the World by Pagan Kennedy
- The Creative Spark: How Imagination Made Humans Exceptional by Agustín Fuentes
- Invention: Enhancing inventiveness for quality of life, competitiveness, and sustainability (Report of the Committee for Study of Invention)