Educational Benefits of Magic Theatre
by Dr. Joseph Adler, 1994
education has focused on content with the view that there exist immutable
objective facts and the purpose of teaching is to pump this alleged knowledge
into the empty heads of students. Modern thinking in both educational
psychology and epistemology focuses more on processes such as logical
thought, communication and above all learning to learn. This shift of
focus stems from two premises:
is not always possible to accurately predict what information will be
useful in the future.
all learned knowledge is storytelling. Storytelling in its multifarious
manifestations such as: chalk talks, fables, lectures, songs, plays, movies,
novels, theories, presentations etc. - is how humanity passes on its body
of knowledge and its culture-by all peoples, through all time.
one common thread that links people who have reached the pinnacle of human
achievement is that they were all great communicators - some in words,
others in images, others still in mathematics or music, each one mastering
the art of a particular expressive medium and applying it to immortalize
ideas and inspire others.
Theatre takes the tradition of storytelling and propels it into the computer
age. Its blending of both content and process, listening and telling,
distinguishes it as a unique educational program. Magic Theatre's primary
educational objective is to help develop communication skills, which are
critical for success in all walks of life.Modern multi media computing
technology lets one take a very broad view of communication, and in effect
levels the playing field. While the need to express may be universal,
the mastering of the necessary skills will be different for different
children can draw, others narrate, still others sing, or write. With Magic
Theatre they can pick their preferred medium and still tell their story.
Or they can team up with others who compliment their own abilities. As
children use Magic Theatre, they enhance their ability in the key elements
of communication such as:
Theatre's design is based on a number of principles.
A child needs to be stimulated and learns by example. For this reason,
every time the program is run a short startup movie is randomly selected
and played. Each movie has been carefully designed to show a different
aspect of the product.
Children learn through play. The interactive nature of Magic Theatre's
user interface, with its sounds and visual effects, renders the act of
creation as much fun and as important as the creation itself.
What one creates reflects how one created it. Magic Theatre was designed
with ease of use in mind. Every feature was tested again and again for
over six months on children as young as three. Ease of use was considered
of such paramount importance that some features were intentionally removed
or hidden. Rather then constraining children's imagination by forcing
them to navigate the arcane and bewildering intricacies of computing technology,
Magic Theatre frees them. Literally, in minutes they are able to create
their own movies with just the mouse and microphone. No reading, no keyboard,
no computer house keeping, and if you don't know what a button does, you
click on it and it will tell you.
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