Archive for ‘education’

March 27, 2013

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY and Architecture: The presentations

For those who were not there and for those who want to keep reflecting on the contents presented on Saturday 23rd March in Ferrara [Italy], here are the Keynote speakers’ presentation. A big thank you to all the speakers who agreed to share their precious and inspiring material!

Robert RasmussenRasmussen Consulting (Denmark) | The LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method: a thinking, communication and problem solving techniques for groups insights to its the origin, purpose, functionality and theoretical underpinnings.

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March 2, 2013

Unveiling Knowledge: pre-linguistic experiences and metaphors

Experience-driven metaphors reveal knowledge (C) NewYorker

How can we access Knowledge?

This question was triggered by Slobin’s book, Psycholinguistics, originally written in 1971 that I was reading in its second edition.

Slobin reflects on language and the role of psycholinguistics, and there he states that “language, like all systems of human knowledge, can only be inferred from careful study of overt behaviour. […] It is important to grasp the distinction  between overt behaviour and underlying structure. In English and other languages, the distinction is expressed  in the concepts of LANGUAGE and SPEECH: SPEECH has a corresponding verb form, whereas LANGUAGE does not.” (Slobin 1979 :2).

This distinction reminds Saussures’ Langue and Parole, when he says that language should be considered as the norm of all other manifestations of speech (1916 :9). Though Slobin, by pointing out the active nature of speech, that corresponds to a verb, to an action, has brought in something I have found worth a thought. So, what if we shift Slobin’s definitions and equal knowledge to language and speech to the act of meaning making?

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February 17, 2013

Building knowledge

Theaetetus by Plato

“For this feeling of wonder shows that you are a philosopher, since wonder is the only beginning of philosophy.” [Plato,  Theaetetus] 

When we want to know something, what we do is to search for reliable sources of information, to look for people who spent their lives studying a subject, trying to give it a sense, trying to make the topic understandable and clear and adding their own insights by formulating some statements which should define – and sometimes confine – the realm of knowledge we can get.
When we search for information, the first thing we rely on is the literature on the topic: we delve into books and papers, read, listen and watch everything relevant. Like sponges, we absorb what the world have already said and thought about the subject at hand, we take one or two of those main concepts, adopt them and elaborate our personal and critical insights starting from there.
We might end becoming experts and authorities on that subject with people asking us to explain the mysteries we already faced in the early stages of our research.
We build our knowledge step by step, brick by brick, by collecting information and combining it in something that fits the existent knowledge and our experience.

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February 2, 2013

Harkness Table and LSP: Differences and similarities

Harkness Table

Harkness Table

I was reflecting on my experience with architecture students at University of Ferrara and LEGO SERIOUS PLAY. [See the video]

I find amazing how students who did not have any clue about the content and the goals of the workshop engaged in the discussion and raised a number of enlightening ideas about Heritage. They were not asked, neither provided, any books or papers to read, the idea was to understand how a bunch of students in their early-twenties could theorise and think about Heritage independently, critically and collectively.

So, in my research about educative approaches that capitalise on collaboration and collaborative meaning-making, I’ve found about the Harkness Table. For those who are not familiar with it, this is an educative approach introduced in 1931 when Edward Harkness, a philanthropist, challenged Exeter University asking them to innovate education and provided them with an oval table. The idea behind the table, which was meant to allow 12/15 students to sit around together with their teacher, was to create a different approach to education where students were seen as a team and could be encouraged to take part to a discussion, interact and learn about collaborative practices, by reducing the influence of the teacher.

The idea of a class as a team  that capitalises on teamwork and encourages interaction among students in a free environment sounded a pretty close approach to that I adopted. The Harkness Table focuses a lot on these concepts, and I’ve found it thrilling. Though the more I read about it, the more the differences emerged.

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December 28, 2012

When Architects-to-be play with LEGO…

The Video is cilp taken from one of the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY workshop I run at the University of Ferrara, Faculty of Architecture in November 2012.

Students taking part to the workshop are currently working on a course project on Heritage; their main focus is Ahmedabad Heritage Walk (India). The aim of the workshop was to create a team out of the group of individuals working together and to lay the foundations for their collective work. To achieve this students engaged in a classic LSP workshop: they were first asked to define what Heritage is by building an individual LEGO model of their personal concept. Each student built their own vision and shared it with others. Sharing individual models and ideas let differences emerge: it came out that though they were all working and researching around the same topic, their individual perceptions, their focus, their ideas were very different: some students focused on the time dimension, others have seen heritage as coming from a relationship between present and past, others have highlighted the confusion and chaotic dimension related to the idea of Heritage, and others focused on the subjects who perceive, define and socially construct the concept of Heritage.

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September 25, 2012

The Unbearable Lightness of Ideas: LWs goes to University!

Hands on Bricks!

Hands on Bricks!

“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things” Theodore Levitt 

 The last months have been devoted to innovation. Time for creativity and innovation is necessarily made by questions looking for solutions and  the apparent quietness of this space is filled by innovative actions taking place in unexpected places, with unimagined forms and surprising people.

LegoViews is a growing method, proving itself to be not only flexible, but integrated and integrable into different contexts with diverse aims.

The current experiment is taking place in Italy: regardless the economic situation, that country can still be a place open to real innovative approaches and able to recognise, capitalise and be enthusiast for new ideas.

And the Italian Academia can be a free  environment where a real problem could turn into an amazing opportunity: just put together an innovative university department, like the Architecture department of University of Ferrara, a team coordinated by Prof. Marcello Balzani, a cutting-edge course lead by prof. Carlo Bughi and supervised by Prof. Beppe Dosi,  and what you get is an explosive situation where ideas happen and changes take place.

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