Check out the interesting talk Mark Frauenfelder gave at TEDxKids in Brussels a few weeks ago.

Mark Frauenfelder is the Editor in Chief for Make magazine, a publication that uses technology to create do-it-yourself projects. As Mark explains in his talk, this same emphasis on design can augment the educational experience of children when used as a teaching tool. In Mark’s words,

“The problem with a lot of today’s schools is that they train kids to be scholars. They’re always preparing kids. Kids are learning how to research things through books and the internet. They’re writing reports about what they learned. They’re learning math as abstract concepts, not through practical knowledge. So kids are always preparing to do things but they’re not actually doing anything.”

The solution to this problem? To teach a curriculum focused on design and hands-on projects rather than abstract concepts.

“The idea is to create young makers instead of young scholars by giving kids hands on experience. (…) There’s a lot of research that shows that the brain actually develops when kids are younger by using their hands. The more they use their hands, there’s kind of a neural connection that makes the brain more complex and the more kids use their hands the better their brains develop.”

What’s especially exciting about the points Mark is making is that Spark is already on board with this system of learning. Check out our Funded Projects page and you’ll notice that every single project involves children learning through hands-on experiences.

Looking for a fun summer project to work on with your kids? The Make Projects page has tons of tutorials. And stay tuned for more updates on events and programs from Spark!