MAGIC BLOCKS TO TRIGGER CREATIVE, MATHEMATICAL, LOGICAL, LANGUAGE, STRATEGIC AND SOCIAL SKILLS IN PRE-SCHOOL AND PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN
University of Barcelona (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 19-21 November, 2012
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:Block Magic is a two years EU project that aims at introducing a new teaching methodology and technology targeting young children between the ages of 2.5 and 7 who are attending pre-school or the early years of primary school. The overarching goal is to help young learners to learn autonomously. This, the authors believe, is a basic life-skill, of critical importance for their future development. Furthermore, through the use of technologically enhanced attribute blocks, a wide variety of competences will be stimulated, such as creative, mathematical, logical, language, strategic and social skills – all these skills will be important for learners in later life. Block Magic will support the acquisition of life skills where alternative teaching methods may be less effective.
This paper will present the Block Magic methodology and give examples of learning activities especially designed for the different target skills. Block Magic is centered on the concept of a magic block – an “intelligent” version of the “attribute blocks” or “logical blocks” and “teaching tiles” already familiar to teachers. Each magic block has an integrated passive RFID sensor through which the block is identified wirelessly. For this, an specially designed wand is used which has the ability to read the RFID in each block and transmit the result to the Block Magic software engine. A software engine (a “Finite State Machine”) receives the input from the wand and generates an "action". Students are provided constant feedback which motivates their play and helps in advancing in the skills acquisition.
Initial evaluation of the Block Magic approach has been performed with in-service teachers.
Keywords: Block Magic, pedagogy, attribute blocks, logical blocks, technologically enhanced, RFID sensors, acquisition of skills, creative skills, mathematical skills.