Friday, January 15, 2010

Learning Extensions, Analog and Digital...

... or a bit of both:

Owen, and Luke for that matter, is fascinated with The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and we only added fuel to that fire by giving Ben a LOTR game for Playstation. They spent most of the week after Christmas, and the week after that, watching their Dad battle cave trolls, orcs, and Uruk-Hai (which Owen refuses to believe are orcs, he thinks they are a whole different, super-bad race). So the pic up there is Owen, dressed as Legolas the elf, with straws for arrows and a wonderful polished stick (one of the best, most-used gifts he's ever gotten, incidentally) as his bow.

He loves to dress as a character and act out a part. I always know when he has taken something in, because he'll go around spouting lines perfectly from story, poetry... or video games. If that's not an extension to learning, I don't know what is.

Luke has re-discovered Dance Mat Typing, the funnest way to learn to type that I have ever seen. I'm serious, you have not lived until you've heard the cute moose host in the sunglasses tell you about the 'home row keys.' It's free, and as you go through the program, you get a certificate when you pass each level. Sure beats the grumpy keyboarding teacher that I had in high school!

Although I haven't really talked about it here yet, Luke had a very techie Christmas, finally fulfilling his life's dream when Santa brought him a Nintendo DS. He also got a great game, Brain Age, which turns out to be a learning extension, too. In fact, it is downright educational, and Luke plays it every day to exercise his brain.

Finally, and most analog of all, Lego fever has come to our home. Until this week, Luke directed others as to what to make with Legos for him to play with. He's always functioned around blocks in a purely supervisory capacity - but then, we got invited to join a Lego club and, coincidentally in the same week, he was given a Lego club magazine with directions for how to build underwater creatures. Suddenly, he's building, spending hours creating old-fashioned telephones, dolphins, little space speeders... It's a good thing Owen has loved Lego for a while, because we actually have a fair amount of it around.

And, are they really so analog? There was one last spark to Luke's Lego fire this week: Lego Digital Designer, free, downloadable software for designing your own creations, or checking out others'. And the coolest thing is, you can design something digitally and then buy the Legos to make it in analog!

Block-building could be one of the most intellectually creative activities, I am so glad Luke has finally caught on. Talk about a learning extension!


Susan said...

I love your analog and digital learning extensions. I've got check out Dance Mat Typing. Clem just finished Read Write Type but it didn't seem nearly as fun as Dance Mat. That looks like one beautiful handmade bow. I love the quiver with straws.

Jena said...

Wow! What amazing things your boys are doing! Legos have always been an important part of Peter's life. And we love LOTR too! And thanks for the typing link--what a great resource.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to Legos, analog reigns supreme - - even at our house. H-T STILL loves his Legos and comes back to them again and again after short and long breaks.

Rana said...

It looks like you all are having fun over there. I love the bow and arrow. My son loves to help my husband play LOTR's on the computer. He has a thing for the cave trolls.

I've been meaning to blog about the Legos too. The boy made his own airplane and we ordered it. He is in the process of putting it together. I'm building a house and I am almost finished. Tinky is building a pink truck. We hope to order our Legos soon.

jugglingpaynes said...

Ahh, LEGOs! They are much loved around here too, as is the LEGO magazine. We have a digital and analog mix here too. Their computer needs are met with Spore. I can't complain. Playing Spore taught my youngest to read. ;o) I love when they combine the analog and digital activities, like your sons do with the Lego digital designer. My son will draw ideas for creatures with colored pencils and then make them on Spore.

Peace and Laughter,

The Stone Age Techie said...

Susan - Owen can make nearly anything out of nearly anything. It is so cute!

Jena - I never really believed it when other people would say, "oh, they play with Legos for hours." But, now I do!

Topsy - I love the idea that even teenagers are still captivated by Legos. How cool!

Rana - I cannot WAIT to see the creations you all made with the Lego designer, especially Tinky's pink truck! You must blog about this.

Cristina - that is cool about Spore. We downloaded the free creature creator (which Luke loves) but never got any farther than that, partly because our main computer is not set up for games that require lots of memory, and partly because we HATE the Digital Rights Management that Spore uses - if you reconfigure your computer, or if for any reason you need to re-load the game, you can do that only three times, and then you have to buy a new game. It pissed us off so bad!

Thanks for reading everybody -

Darcel said...

We LOVE Lego's here. My girls are playing with the ones from my childhood. Looking forward to adding to that collection.

I am also a LOTR fan, my girls have watched bits and pieces of the Trilogy with me.

Looks like your boys are having fun.

Bethany said...

Awesome links! Thanks - I'm checking them all out now.

Chris said...

My son, three and a half, received his first Lego kit, a robot, this Christmas. He and his twin sister have been playing with Duplos for a while now. By the way, I really like your blog!