[Week 3 Reflection] Pick a Quote


This is my quote: "When people work on projects that they are interested in, it seems pretty obvious that they’ll be more motivated and willing to work longer and harder"
Definitely doing something that we like will always get the best of us.


I like these quotes from the Computer Clubhouse article, in reference to constructionism:

“People don’t get ideas, they make them.”

“People build ideas and knowledge in their minds by building things in the world.”

Here are two of my all-time favorites from “The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering” by Fred Brooks (1975!):

“The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff.
He builds his castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination.”

“The magic of myth and legend has come true in our time. One types the correct incantation on a keyboard, and a display screen comes to life, showing things that never were nor could be.”

I use these quotes to get students thinking about the possibilities that are within their grasp. (I also like to throw in some extrinsic motivation by sharing headlines or articles about how much money software developers are making these days.)

How about this (perhaps slightly idealistic) one (by me):
“Software rules the world.”


The quote with low floors, high ceilings and wide walls really struck me. We so often in education teach to the middle expecting our low kids to just catch up and our high kids to just hang out. I think if we focused more on this quote for all kids and all activities a lot more learning would occur. It is differentiation at its finest!


I also feel resonated with an idea in Mitch’s book chapter 3 “At first, some youth interests might seem to be trivial or shallow, but with the right support and encouragement, youth can build up networks of knowledge related to their interests”. Asking learners questions to inspire them to think deeper and in different viewpoints helps them develop explicit knowledge and critical thinking skills, and empowers them to be better citizens.

Related is another quote in the Mitch’s book chapter 3 is 'Immersion without reflection can be satisfying, but not fulfilling". At first, it might be educators ask learners questions to inspire them to reflect. As this goes on and on, students would pick up the habit of “immersion AND reflection”.


“Hard fun”–when people have hard fun, they always have questions “bugging” in their head which motivates them to explore deeper and broader.


I liked how Mr. Resnick switched up Ben Franklin’s quote in saying, “An investment in interest always pays off with the best knowledge.” I can’t agree with him more. When a child is particularly interested in an activity or project, they know no boundaries. Something that you may have previously thought was too challenging for them isn’t challenging enough if they are actively interested and engaged. This rings true with adults, as well. I know I put worth more effort into projects that I am interested in rather than projects that I was assigned to do. I believe Mr. Resnick is absolutely correct in stating that kids will come out with a greater understanding when they are interested in their project and truly care about the topic.


“For a technology to be effective, he said, it should provide easy ways for novices to get started (low floors) but also ways for them to work on increasingly sophisticated projects over time (high ceilings).”

This quote resonated with me because I think it’s important to give the students a simple approach to getting started but allowing them to enhance their creations, allowing them to become more sophisticated, over time. It made me think about how I present projects to my students and how I can make it a more meaningful learning experience for them. Providing them with the opportunity to grow as learners through these “low floors” and “high ceilings” approach, gives them more motivation to learn.


There are sentences I agree with and other sentences I disagree with.
But first of all, don’t get me wrong. I think most of today’s school systems should shift to the approach we’re talking about here. Today’s school is frequently close to non-sense :roll_eyes:

I partially agree with these sentence:
"low floor, high ceilings, wide walls"
It helps children a lot (or learners of all ages) to start small and easy, and then build it all up incrementally. Having high ceilings is also helpful as it gives people hope to create and achieve more and more things along the way. It’s a growth mindset in action!

The best part is wide walls, as it gives people great freedom to move and experiment in many directions before finding their best path to learning and creating.

At the same time I think this last part of the sentence can be misunderstood or dangerous if taken without a pinch of salt.

If you have no (or wrong) goals, or if your educators don’t have clear (and wide) goals for you in mind, experimentation per-se can be also frustrating or lead to indefinite wandering. Worst, experimenting without a clear set of values can even be dangerous for the one who’s experimenting or the others. History is rich with people who experimented a lot up to creating dangerous results for society.
Look at this video to have a thoughtful clue:

Now this sentence
Most children are willing to work hard–eager to work hard–so long as they’re
excited about the things they are working on.”

I agree this is true and honestly quite obvious…

But, to be frank, I think this as a rather simplistic goal in education. If we teach younger generations that the most important thing while working is keep it up as long as they’re excited about what they do, what happens when you’re faced with things you’re not excited about at all and yet you still have to
There are so many situations in everyday life where you have to show grit and perseverance while having to complete goals you’re absolutely not excited about, at work, family, community etc.
For example, many times you’ve to help others achieve “their” goals not yours
(think of parents with teenagers). And you’re bored about their interests. Yet you’ve to keep going just to help them, not because you’re excited.

Of course, the trade-off would be making other people’s passions your own!

My suggestion is to offer children experiences in the areas of:
boredom and fun, or a blend of the two, in this grid of situations, to make them better prepared to what life is going to face them with. Hard fun alone is not enough.

Boredom can even be a fruitful path to creativity:

Time for questions:
Where in this grid would you like to invite your students to have experiences?
Where in this grid do you think most of today’s schools are? And where should they be?
You can add some black spots in this document:

Hope this helps, thank you for this wonderful group.


Difficult to choose, but let’s give it a try:

It’s common to hear adults talk favorably about activities that are “so much fun that kids don’t even know they’re learning.” But that shouldn’t be the goal.

This is from the LLK book, and expresses a concern about (the enthusiasm with) gamification, which is too often understood as putting colors and game-like (behaviorist) paraphernalia on top of something that even adults find boring. The approach by MIT and LLK guys is much more mature, and, what’s more important, treats children more seriously.

An important issue…


“As I see it, an investment in interest, always pays off with the best knowledge.” - Mitchel Resnick

Mitchel’s switch of Benjamin Franklin’s quote really resonated with me. I have been in too many classrooms and situations where students are tasked with the same project, all resulting in similar results. There is initial excitement (engagement) and subsequent disappointment when the project becomes tedious with over documentation of learning targets.

Igniting an interest isn’t simply about engagement and I find the majority of projects stop at the first sign of engagement. The hard fun comes when the project is interesting and challenging. As we know, interests vary so it is difficult to plan and run projects that are of all interest areas. I think it’s important for learners to identify with a role they are either comfortable with or one that pushes them. Only when we get past the initial engagement and work towards empowerment will we get to passion.


Nailed it. The coercion and tricking of children into learning can be detected by children. Worse, they become numb to it as they progress in age/grade to the point where it’s not worth the effort to fight for their interests/passions.

Sorry for the downer reply here. I just have seen so many kids who seem so interested at early ages only to grow indifferent to what they once found interesting and was squashed by an over structured and learning objective laden projects or learning experiences.

Time is past ripe to have deep conversations about what it means to learn.


During my reading this week, I had two major takeaways: One personal, one professional.

For my personal takeaway, I was struck by the idea of “hard fun.” I find that when I am involved with hard fun projects, I’m more likely to enter a flow state, which I see as the highest form of engagement. Examples from my own experiences include sewing a T-shirt quilt, writing a blog post, working on a research paper, creating a collage, cooking a difficult recipe, and designing a Halloween costume. “Hard fun” projects are often projects that I want to work on, but have difficulty starting on. I want to find ways to make hard fun more prominent in my life and in my job; I feel like I’m missing that a lot right now.

My professional takeaway has to do with the idea of “wide walls.” The school I am working for with AmeriCorps is interested in creating a makerspace to open next year. I am part of the planning process for this. There are so many incredible technologies out there, but I feel like with a limited budget, it is necessary to invest in technologies that have a wide variety of possible uses. In order to make the most of such an investment, the technology needs to have wide walls- so students can really be creative in using it (Scratch is a great example). Does anyone have any recommendations for other programs/devices/technologies that are highly versatile for a makerspace?


in the Dan Pink video, even though they were not juxtaposed.

Why do most children not have this in schools?

I wish Ken Robinson were in Betsy De Vos’ job…


I agree. Today’s parents give their kids too much.
Kids need a lot of free time to imagine and tinker.


"Do we really want computerized systems controlling the pace, direction, and content of the learning process?’ No, we don’t! This resonates with me because, for over a decade, I was a math specialist. I viewed math instruction as a personal journey, making personal connections to learning. I feel that too many times, math instruction is viewed like a computer in ‘pace’ and ‘direction.’ There are many ways to solve a single problem and that realization is an important part of the learning process.


Passionate creatures

The quote: “… People are by nature curious creatures who like to explore, learn and actively engage in their environment” (Rusk, 2017, p. 6).

Two questions have obsessed me (constructively), and of course in a personal and professional way: How should an educational system promotes a person’s ability to choose his/her vocation in life? How would it be if every child could develop all their potential and in their adult life love what they do in their work?

Both approaches have led me to think about how different educational structures, whether family environment, schools (of course), and society in general, add or subtract with their efforts the development of the qualities that really allow a person live with fullness and well-being in each stage of life; relatively young ideas when relating to the academic and professional environment, and I believe that in a very pioneering field to be put into practice.

In a very unexpected way, the personal practice of mindfulness allowed me to experience a very unusual way of understanding the importance of constant internal search and communication with oneself (a healthy questioning of ideas and beliefs) to respond in touch with the outer world. My great discovery, at 30 years of age, was to realize how little I took into account my preferences, intuition and emotions to make many decisions, some unimportant, and others very important as those related to my professional development. I’m not saying it’s the only way, but it was the first time that I trained consciously and with professional support, the connection of my inner world with the outside, which I also consider one of the most important skills that I brought to my life.

By participating in this workshop, I have found even more sense and depth with the ideas that enclose the design of learning experiences that seek to motivate and nurture passion and intrinsic motivation. That is why in this activity the theory Self-determination exposed in Natalie Rusk’s text resonated particularly with me. The quote that contains the general idea of this theory was underlined with my favorite bookmark:

“… People are by nature curious creatures who like to explore, learn and actively engage in their environment” (Rusk, 2017, p. 6).

Then, this idea is broadened with the approach of satisfying three key needs in order to promote engagement to the environment. Among them, it seemed fundamental to talk about the development of autonomy as "a sense of agency over one’s actions, rather than feeling controlled by others” (Rusk, 2017, p.6).

I believe that in an inertia of years, educational systems have constantly underestimated the importance of establishing the emotional-cognitive connection of the person with their own learning process, as well as stimulating this constant inner search that is nothing but a powerful compass to direct efforts that lead to discoveries that go beyond grades, failures or golden stars. This autonomy of being, of assuming learning as an internal impulse and not as an imposition, expressed by the inner desire to master skills, is the beginning of an authentic education in which the unique potential of each human being is more likely to truly flourish.

So, when I think of the arguments that are continually mentioned about the difficult and practically impossible that an entire educational system can produce an education that gives amplitude to the expression, creativity, play and diversity of projects, maybe it would be worth to reflection on how much does it cost already to continue with educational processes that inhibit the possibility of flourishing of each person.

We could also rethink the idea in another way… Would not it be coherent to build an educational system that respects, resonates and develops the cognitive and emotional nature of the human being? What would happen if it were so? I never said that it would be simple, and without a doubt, a great experience of hard fun for those who love education, don’t you think?


One quote that resonated with me was the story about the girl making the book report about Charlotte’s Web. She needed to learn about perspective and scale to make the project and because she was invested in the project, she learned and persevered. I’ve often wondered how to motivate students and letting them work on something they are passionate about makes sense.


While I was reading your post, which I enjoyed, something popped into my head. Most things discussed have been directed at teachers in the schools, the educators. What about the parents’ role in building a place in their lives and homes for projects? What about society’s role? Thinking back, it feels as though a lot of what my siblings, friends, and I did outside of school solidified what I learned in school.

Today in school, I may have a two or three students having anything that might be defined as a project. Between organized hockey games, soccer games, ballet, and music, as examples, most children don’t seem to have any time to create anything. They seem to spend most of their time on the road going to and coming from activities, their own and their siblings’. I hear a lot of “I won’t have time because I have to go …”. It’s really quite sad.


I have to say that the phrase “hard fun” is my favourite. I love it when my students say that they can’t believe it’s the end of the day because it went too fast. Keeping them challenged, engaged, and thinking is hard work; however, it generates the most hard fun and the most learning.


Hard Fun: kids are willing to work hard as long as they work on things that they really care about”.

Thus, the real challenge for us the teachers is to engage kids on projects that would allow them to build on their interest.