Creative Learning Sparks - Favorite 99% Invisible Podcast Episodes for Creative Learning
Updated: Apr 18
Hello, Creative Learning Friends! This week's sparks are a couple episode of the podcast 99% Invisible that have influenced how I think about design, education, and working with young people.
#1 "First Errand" - https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/first-errand/
This recent episode digs into the factors (or the design) of an environment that make it possible for very young children to accomplish tasks independently in their communities as they do in the TV show "Old Enough". I love this show! This podcast episode made me more deeply consider how environments at many scales from city to neighborhood to home can be intentionally designed to support (or not support) children's abilities to develop agency and act independently. It reminds me that regardless of who you're designing learning experiences for, you have to approach the curation of the environment as intentionally as you approach the selection of materials or the facilitation of the experience.
#2 "Inheriting Froebel's Gifts" - https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/inheriting-froebels-gifts/
As someone who is interested in the design of kits, materials, toys, and tools for creative learning, this episode was fascinating as it dives into the work of Friederich Froebel. Froebel is often credited as the inventor of kindergarten and a series of manipulatives, or toys for learning, called "Froebel's Gifts". In many ways his approach to learning resonated with me; he believed children could learn through play and through making and he hypothesized that well-designed toys could be fun and educational. But some of his ideas didn't resonate; he imagined that children would sit at a desk and play with these toys on a gridded flat surface and carefully move through a pre-planned linear progression of toys and concepts. I was also interested to learn that Froebel had quite an interdisciplinary background, he worked in science with crystallographers to understand the microstructures that shape our world, which in turn shaped the way he designed his gifts.