The group of 2-10 year olds who visited the Lesley Makerspace this past Friday had a big task at hand: to teach their parents, professors in the Lesley Language and Literacy Division, how to create their own eBook. Through this special gathering, we witnessed the unique flow of teaching and learning between child and parent.
First, the children were challenged with designing and building their own bristlebot: a small robot created by connecting a small battery to a vibration motor housed on top of a toothbrush head. Though the task seems simple, it’s astounding to watch the problem solving and perseverance needed to first make the electrical components function, and then to see the creative design thinking involved in bringing the creatures to life with pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and a myriad of other art supplies. These seemingly simple activities with wide open outcomes have a profound impact on the creative thought process. The children discovered, through the process of making, that each design element had an effect; how components were attached, where they were placed, how the pieces were balanced, each of these solutions transformed the physical movement of the bots.
The children also documented the process of their making in an eBook app called “Book Creator” on Android tablets. They typed in descriptions, drew diagrams, took photos and videos, all within the Book Creator app. The children’s parents, eager to learn eBook design, became the students. Their children showed them how the books were created, how to import assets, and how to customize the fonts, color choices and design of each page.
As parents, it’s a special treat to be able to watch your child make new discoveries. What was apparent on this day is it’s even more powerful as a parent to learn alongside your child: to learn through their lens and to learn through their learning.