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Learning from the kids

We recently participated in the CreatedBy Festival to celebrate STEAM week at the Boston Children’s Museum. It was an honor to be among the 30 or so organizations chosen to take part. It was quite the learning experience.

We were given a tabletop on a third floor corridor where we vied for the attention of children who were dashing by to check out the Brio train displays and a spectacular view of the harbor. Happily, when we asked, “would you like to make some music?” most kids were all in.

Making Hyperscore controllable through touch screens was a great move on our part, as every child within seconds became engrossed with tapping the Melody Window to see what sounds came out. What we hadn’t anticipated is that they would want to use Hyperscore as an instrument. They were so excited by the sounds they could make that it took some persuasion to get them to understand that they could make melodies and re-play them. They needed to make a big leap.

We also observed that when we showed them the Sketch Window, the children, not surprisingly, tried to use it in the same way as the Melody Window, poking at it to try to make a sound. We realized they needed to make another big mental leap to understand that lines drawn in a Sketch Window offered a higher level control over the melodies created in the Melody Window. Once they got the idea, though, their excitement was palpable. One boy couldn’t stop leaping about and dancing in delight. It made our day.

In a structured, classroom setting, it might be easier to teach children how to use Hyperscore. But in an unstructured, festival exhibit setting, I feel like it would be beneficial to come up with other ways to guide kids through the journey. If you have ideas, we’d love to hear them!

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