There’s more to Lego

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As I child, I enjoyed Lego as much as the next little person. But back in those days curved edges and intricate detail were seldom possible – at least in my modest collection. However, I do recall attempting to complete a roof, although not how far I got.

Nowadays, the plastics extrusion engineers of our favourite Danish export have opened up the world to all enthusiasts of this form of model engineering. And since one of these appears to be my son, his 5th birthday was marked with several sets of Lego’s Chima range of “toy”.

Watching him take on the challenge has been rather eye-opening. Notwithstanding the motivation of the end product, the clarity of instruction and his interest in following them, the logic of the steps to take and the opportunity to express and develop very fine motor skills have combined to make an engaging and enjoyable experience.

Witnessing, at close quarters, what Lego can unlock goes far beyond the definition of “toy”. Problem solving, process-lead activity, sequencing, perseverance and ultimately imaginative play are all ingredients of “playing” with Lego. And begs the question is it worthwhile because children develop a style of learning from the activity, or are only certain learners successful because they’re predisposed to engagement with the Lego?

I’ll keep an eye on his progress. Unless of course I’ve built them for him while he’s not around!

Found on a skip through TED talks, is this from Julian Treasure who advises business on the effective use of sound.  In his talk he urges us to consider the benefits that come from more effective listening.  Not just in becoming more productive communicators, as we are often guided to do, but also in terms of paying attention to the incredibly array of sounds, natural or mechanical, beautiful or otherwise, that are around us.

His talk forms connections with others, who similarly, give us the opportunity to consider how to pay attention to the world around us.  and this “paying attention” is about our communication with others, with the natural world and ultimately with ourselves and how we can play an active part in creating a more peaceful and caring world.

So, after listening to Julian Treasure, try these:

It only takes one pigeon

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I learned a lesson this afternoon. I have been an avid, albeit intermittent user of social media, since “the wild west days” (a Peter Ford phrase) of the early 2000’s. I have always been fascinated with it’s purpose and use. I tweeted a picture of the solitary pigeon who wandered onto my Jubilee line train at West Hampstead is afternoon, alighting one stop later at Kilburn. It was retweeted or made favourite more times than any other message. This experience has made me realise that it is the novel, fascinating, unique and different that is at the heart of the power and potential of what we share across our networks. The perspectives we bring can strike a chord with others and make links with that which is interesting whether personally, professionally, intellectually, socially or aesthetically.

Here is, therefore, the message for anyone – personally or professionally – in using social media. When I’m asked about its purpose in education, my response is that it is to share students’ learning, promote and celebrate events and achievements and provide your community – teachers, pupils, parents, governors – a voice. That this may be occurring in exactly the same way in many other schools is not the point. The point is that what is going on in your community is unique to your community and worthy of a platform. There are many within your organisation who will gain value from recognising that their endeavours are shared and that connections are made between communities.

The pigeon on my train was only a common London pigeon, loathed by many, and under any other circumstance would have been rather unwelcome. But for that brief journey, he (or she) became a personality worthy of their own small slice of recognition. I was merely there to share the pigeon’s experience and in doing so, I clearly struck a chord. Especially as the bird seemed to know exactly when to get off. And therein lies another message about brevity…