Sometimes a teen can’t think of anything to say on video chat, until he has something to talk about:

To visit the EteRNA website, click on the picture or this link:

When my son was in kindergarten, this article was written: “Edutainment? No Thanks. I Prefer Playful Learning” by Mitchel Resnick at the MIT Laboratory (2004). I still agree with it very much.

Through the ages the most engaging educational software has been interactive, where the learning was integrated as in the Buzzy Series (Buzzy in the Jungle), the Cluefinders ¬†Series, The Incredible Machine, Physicus, and the Mixed Up Mind of Dr. Brain. Who wants to be tested without being taught first? That’s not my style. DimensionU did not keep either of my teens, or me, involved in the process, but EteRNA is intriguing. While my scientific kid is away from the actual game (puzzle, project, website?) EteRNA is getting a lot of his thinking and discussion time.

As parents cut back on game time, and schools increase the homework workload, how can children have more fun while learning? As an example from a mechanical and robotic viewpoint Legos and K-Nex collections are great, with compatible motorized, computerized, and light up pieces that can inspire new creative applications. Notable is the popularity of Minecraft, Crayon Physics, Magic Pen and Powder Toy. A Makey-Makey kit is an open-ended way to add a computer switch to any contraption. Computers are great, but not everything should happen in the virtual world. Young adults want their inventions to be substantial. Children like their virtual creations to have a foot in reality.


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