Hello World. I am Marylene and I am  the wife of Kenneth Gomes. Together with my husband, we are running a learning centre known as the Creative Learning Academy Private Limited., whose core mission is to provide Tuition to students to enable them to have a level playing field.

We also conduct 21st Century Skills workshops and holiday camps in Schools, self help organisations like Yayasan Mendaki, CDAC, SINDA and EA. under the name: 21st Century Global Education, a wholly owned subsidiary of Creative Learning Academy.

We are writing this Blog to share with you The What’s and Why’s of Kids Invent and our passion to promote and conduct 21st Century education.

Since 2011 till 2016, we have been running Kids Invent Workshops and Camps at our Centre. They are usually conducted during the June, September and December school holidays. It was in 2010 that the both of us were introduced to  “ Kids Invent ” – a programme that was started in 1997 at the California State University , Fresno.

Kids Invent was developed by Prof. Tim Stearns and Dr. Ed Sobey whose goal was to stimulate learning by having children experience the creative and entrepreneurial excitement that drives inventors, They wanted to inspire children to invent things using their creativity, problem solving skills and hands. Their belief was that children who invented, tend to be more curious and curious children want to learn.

 

In 2010, when we were introduced to this programme, we fell in love with it. We immediately took it on and we started to use it with the students at our Centre. I was amazed at how our students benefited from it. We personally saw our students getting excited, curious and being engaged. We witness them creating, solving problems and applying their ideas. Along the way, they learnt to think out-of -the-box. The excitement, the engagement, the joy of learning was infectious and unbelievable. It was indeed an unforgettable experience for me as an Educator. Since Day 1 we never looked back. We really love this Programme!

Learning which was “ boring and meaningless”, now  took on a whole new life…Learning came ALIVE and through this  hands-on programme,  we were able to teach Science concepts so fluidly that a P2 student or a P6 could understand in a flash how Newton’s Law works and how a circuit works. The knowledge gleaned / acquired was not theoretical. Rather the experiential approach of this program allowed the students to see for themselves how things worked.

 

REAL Learning was now taking place as they were themselves connecting the dots – resulting in real understanding. By doing, they observed, they listened, they tried, they failed and they succeeded. In short, this became their reality:

“I hear and I forget.

I see and I remember.

I do and I understand.”

                                                    Confucius.

Through Kids Invent, they learnt problem-solving, never giving up, working in teams etc.  Unlike their school experience, this was no longer theory but applied knowledge. Learning is no longer in a vacuum. Knowledge and information now gained brought understanding. They connected the dots to make sense and to bring about their own understanding. It was no longer memorized for grades sake.

I can in all honesty say that All students who have done this workshop all enjoyed it; from low –achievers to high flyers. Each and everyone of them walked away with something positive.

High flyers who often score academically, have through this programme discovered that while they have the knowledge, they couldn’t apply or use it.  For example many know what a circuit is and they know how it works.. Unfortunately they can’t put it together when given raw materials like a motor, a propeller, alligator clips, a switch and batteries. For this group it It was exciting to be allowed to “muck around“ with tools and equipment and create their own toys with no micro-managing. They could be imaginative and “crazy ” and connect their own dots. A new way of learning not mere memory…

For those struggling to succeed and as a result School has become a bore, a chore, now gained new insight – we taught them NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE. Rather EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE. DON’T BE AFRAID and DARE to DREAM. Now theses children see hope and we see them walk away with a new belief – “I’M POSSIBLE”.  Along the way we have seen how this new outlook has translated into positive results…Academically many have improved. We believe it is correlated to the increase in self esteem and self-confidence.

Our children are now living in a different world from us. We as parents and Educators have to realize that we are actually preparing them for a world that is fast changing, dynamic not static. Their world is constantly evolving, with new technologies emerging. While knowledge and content are essential and necessary , what is more important is the ability to be Creative, Innovative, Think-out –of-the-Box and be Problem solvers.

What we discovered was, that the pedagogy of our Kids Invent programme, allowed us to impart and equip our students with the skills of critical thinking, team work, agility and adaptability, resilient plus STEM skill sets. All the needed 21st Century Skills to enable our children and students to succeed.

We are so grateful that this programme has allowed us to see and appreciate how creative and innovative our students/children actually are. However, it also made us “sad” that this is a “lacking” experience for many of our children/ students as parents do not see the intangible but essential value of this programme.

We hope that your children can join us in our future workshops and camps.

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