Thursday, August 20, 2020

Teacher Tom: How Viral Learning Works

Teacher Tom: How Viral Learning Works

How Viral Learning Works

A parent asked me if we could use medical feeding bags, the kind used in hospitals for patients who can't feed themselves. I knew what she was talking about, but had never given them much thought, let alone wanted one for the preschool. My rule of thumb, however, is that if anyone wants to contribute 20 or more of anything we'll take them. She had 30 so I had no choice but to say "Yes."

They came in two large boxes, one of which I put on the workbench along with a couple of old tempera paint jugs full of water and for the rest of the afternoon we roamed the playground experimenting with them.

The kids who play at Woodland Park are already experts on water and gravity, so it wasn't long before one of them figured out that the water only ran through the hose when the nozzle was lower than the bag of water. This knowledge went viral the way knowledge does in a play-based curriculum, where the children mostly teach one another.

As I watched the play unfold, I began to think of the virality of knowledge. Even before the pandemic, in this age of the internet, we all know about videos and articles that "go viral" through the democratic process of sharing, but this, what the children were doing with the feeding bags, has always been CONTINUE READING: Teacher Tom: How Viral Learning Works