Sifteo co-founder David Merrill believes in the power of hands-on thinking. Using digital cubes, he explores how intelligent play and physical exploration with our hands stimulates cognitive learning.
Defying the idea that technology creates a passive experience, Sifteo cubes engage users with games and encourage them to play and think nimbly with exploration-oriented problem solving.
At one point in the video, Merrill talks about an experiment with Scrabble tiles where researchers allowed one group to visualize, without touching the letter pieces, how many words they could make out of 7 Scrabble letter tiles. The other group was allowed to manipulate the tiles with their hands and move them around and accomplish the same task of creating as many words as possible with 7 letters.
The group who could touch and manipulate the Scrabble tiles fared much better than the ones who had to visualize the words.
Educators know this: doing kinetic-type activities, where students are using their hands and actively doing something makes learning stick better than just cognition alone.
It’s interesting to see new innovations happening in the technology arena around “active learning.”