Some more Lego Gifts

As a follow up to some of the earlier posts about what kinds of “Lego-related gifts to present” and on “How to Lego your Keys?” we have identified some more fun stuff that could be consider as Lego-related gifts to your friends or to your very Lego-addicted self. Amazon proves to be a rich resource for those types of merchandize. A couple of funny examples:

Have you seen anything similar funny and geeky? Add your comments below.

Early Serious Play Research

Prof Dale Mann
Prof Dale Mann

While we have covered in a number of ways research work that has been carried out in the field of serious play during the last decade, we haven’t followed the early work on this community website. Let me kick off this discussion by referring to a paper written by Professor Emeritus of Columbia University, Prof. Dale Mann, PhD. Prof Mann is active with Interactive simulations for learning and according to Business Week profile, he has been involved in practical work with e-Learning Desktop Inc. as its executive vice president.

Prof. Mann has written in Teachers College Record a long list of research papers and essays. One of the interesting pieces of work for our community members is his work from 1996, titled Serious Play. The abstract of this paper is below.

Reformers are stuck on interventions centered on the schooling institution and the act of formal instruction. The meager results should prompt us to look elsewhere. Play is an active learning method far more powerful than its passive cousin, entertainment. Children play for the expedience of control, for curiosity, for the intrinsic motivation of fun, and to learn. The types of play—sensory motor, dramatic symbolic, games with rules—are nicely intertwined with developmental stages. The activity grows the brain, lubricates action, and previews later life. Among the more important gains is a facilitation of symbolic manipulation. Play is underutilized as a learning strategy and nearly completely ignored by reformers despite the hundreds of empirical citations documenting its power in cognitive development, language development, the growth of imagination and creativity, and the development of social competence. With the benefits of play so firmly established, we should find ways to overcome the economic and political obstacles to harnessing play to reform.

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Lego Serious Play and Identities

David Gauntlett Creative Explorations
David Gauntlett Creative Explorations

Serious Play Pro community member and Lego Serious Play long time friend David Gauntlett is Professor in the Faculty of Media, Arts and Design, and Co-Director of the Communications and Media Research Institute, at the University of Westminster, UK. He has collected to his personal website and to his YouTube channel lots of interesting resources about the applications of serious play. Two interesting videos below tell quite a bit about the work surrounding identities would be good to reflect upon. These videos are related to his book about Creative Explorations

Video 1 - Representing Identities Part 1 - Method
Video 2 - Representing Identities Part 2 - Findings

MIT Researchers Use Legos To Solve Real-Life Problems

By David Wade, WBZ-TV

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – From the blockbuster movie, to the new Legoland Discovery Center opening in Somerville at the end of the month, the old school children’s toy is a modern day hit.

Across the river in Cambridge, there is evidence that Legos are also a hit with researchers. It turns out, the brainiest of the brainiacs at MIT are also Legomaniacs.

Ira Winder is a researcher and project manager of CityScience at the MIT Media Lab. He’s using Legos to study the “walkability” of a city.

MIT Media Labs Lego Landscape
MIT’s Lego version of Kendall Square in Cambridge. (WBZ-TV)

“The Legos help me express the ideas I’m really passionate about,” he said. He builds Lego models of cities, then projects computer data onto the Legos so researchers can test how changes to infrastructure will affect real life.

Winder is currently helping city planners in Australia increase the walkability score of a proposed new city.

“We took that goal and we simplified it into a math model and we actually programmed Legos so they could pretend to build their city, prototype it in an environment before they even build it and that informed model would then tell them how their city scores, is it walkable or not,” he said.

It’s not just in Ira’s office. Legos litter the landscape here.

MIT and Lego have had a partnership since the 1980’s and Winder says the school has about one million Legos to be used for real-life problem solving.

MIT Media Labs Lego Building
One of the many creations in the MIT Media Lab. (WBZ-TV)

MIT’s motto is “mind and hand.” What’s in Ira Winder’s mind might make cities run better. What’s in his hand might just make it all a little more fun.

“We like to think we have these great ideas, but if they’re not approachable,” he said, “then what’s the use of ideas?”

Like the SeriousPlayPro.com via Facebook

We might be completely late for the social media bandwagon. A number of businesses have already started to quit Facebook – look at this funny Breakup Letter of Eat24. Still, some of our readers have asked us why we don’t have our Facebook page, LinkedIn group or Twitter feed.

As the value of any community is in its active discussions and this is where the discussions take place – it might be a good idea to shift our friendly idea exchanges over there.

SeriousPlayPro Facebook page
SeriousPlayPro Facebook page

Hence – we are considering becoming more active via those channels. As the first step – we have (finally) activated SeriousPlayPro.com Facebook page, where we mirror the most important news and discussions of our website to involve our avid readers who enjoy skimming through feeds.

Visit and like us at www.facebook.com/seriousplaypro

Lego Education Learn to Learn Promotional Video

Lego Education YouTube channel has published a number of promotional videos about their preschool concept called Learn to Learn.

LEGO Education LearnToLearn

This approach bears a number of conceptual similarities to Lego Serious Play, relying to a set of core principles. Set up in a practical, four-step learning process supported by classroom solutions.

  1. Connect phase awakens pupils’ curiosity and the desire to learn.
  2. Construct phase encourages the pupil to tackle the challenge by building something functional or meaningful to them.
  3. Contemplate phase involves reflection and dialogue with the teacher and other pupils and reflects an assessment as part of the learning process.
  4. Continue phase gives pupils the opportunities to apply their newly acquired knowledge to new challenges and to take ownership of their learning.

See some other videos below:
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Video about Thinking with your Hands Workshop by Jody Lentz

Some months ago our community member Jody Lentz posted a link to his website thinkwithyourhands.com. He has produced a nice video that showcases the Lego Serious Play methodology. Enjoy!

Think With Your Hands, a workshop powered by LEGO Serious Play by Jody Lentz

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Lego Serious Play Facilitator Network