Tuesday, August 12, 2014

putting real tools in kids' hands...

Perhaps a few at least are starting to wake up from digitally induced slumber. iPads have been noted as a means making children numb to reality. In fact, iPads are being recommended as a means to desensitize children to harsh realities, and I had long ago noted that boys with gameboys could be distracted and kept happily occupied until the batteries needed replacement. Perhaps hammers will have the opposite effect, that of occupying without desensitizing.

Putting Power Tools in the Hands of 5-Year-Olds is a story told recently on Morning Edition, NPR. Thanks to Don for alerting me to it.

In my own wood shop, I have assembled boxes with post office combination lock doors, and am in the process of making a small tray for one of the boxes I made as a demonstration box at Marc Adams School of Woodworking.

I have been working to finish the boxes I made at Marc Adams to serve as an example to my students. Also, today I am ready to assemble the award bases for the Arkansas Governor's Award for Quality.

Some post office box doors can be screwed in place after the box is assembled, but many of the earlier ones like the one shown first with blue painters tape, must be installed with the box built around it. You can determine the combination by watching the turning of the dial from behind, but once the box is closed, the combination can be lost forever. The combination should be carefully recorded.

The tray is designed with a lift at the center, so that it can be lifted from the box. Click on the image for a closer view.

Today I begin moving my Clear Spring School wood shop to a classroom at the center of the school campus.

In the title above I mention "real tools." So what are real tools? Some tools have virtual effect and no less real impact. For instance, I can share something in the blog and someone on the other side of the world may choose to make use of it (or not). A "real" tool, I consider to be one that has immediate and irreversible effect on present reality. For instance, strike a nail with a hammer, or make a cut with a saw. There is no undo button in the use of real tools, and we are taught by their use to take full responsibility for our actions, and their demand of us in their use is to be fully awake, attentive and responsible.

Make, fix and create...


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