… make and do…

We call a variety of things making and doing, mostly because lots of things tend to be multimedia, ie aren’t just sewing.. Today Helena watched some show about recycling on Heihei and some Mr Maker which led to a whole day of making and doing (not that she really needs the shows). I’m not keen on Mr Maker mostly due to the over excited shouting, the ‘minute make’ which implies that hastily produced stuff is the goal rather than actually caring and persevering to make something worth it (“but mummy he gives ideas for you to add if you’ve got more time..”) and there is too much emphasis on product over process. All sellotape and no glue.

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So today there is 1) a bits on the floor collector, 2) squillions of bookmarks, 3) layered glad wrap!! 4) an egg collector, 5) a lid thing which has cut outs from old xmas cards with some glad wrap over it – unknown purpose, 6) card sculptures, 8) a dog house with a 7) food bowl, water bowl, a bone and a mat and soft rug… and on top of the dog house a pair of science glasses (that are fit for purpose, an actual purpose). In a few days they’ll be forgotten (recycled) as she moves on to the next make.

Helena’s making often starts with her having no idea what to make and just fiddling about, rushing off to collect some recycling and then starting to make it up. Though today she had an idea and started it but then part the way through she changed her mind as a better idea took hold when she looked at her raw materials… She totally focusses on what she is doing, all offers outside what she thinks on how to do something are met with an emphatic “NO” however 10 minutes later she sometimes comes back with a “that’s actually a good idea”. Helena’s making has no rules, no conventions to constrain her, other than those that are provided by the materials and her own dexterity.

Technology when it is taught in schools has a direction. You have to first assess the need/have a brief then you come up with ideas – this is drawings/words brainstorm style, then you assess the ideas, rate your ideas and finally you get to make the thing. But that’s not the end as of course as afterwards you reassess your ideas in view of your making experiences and write more words about this. This process somewhat removes the joy for me. What about – Random making? letting the medium speak it’s own qualities and change the outcome? Having a fiddle? Making stuff with no function (call it art?)? Making for the joy of the process? There is so much focus on the product which limits flexibility in the process and diminishes the learning IN THE DOING. I do recognise doing, and finding useful, elements of the “technology process”  but yet I also know it doesn’t resemble what I mostly do, or what I see kids who are experts at free play do, kids who are creative. It’s just not play, and play IS learning.

Helena also made dinner… and plated it up artfully.

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