The goal of Block Magic is to introduce a new teaching methodology and technology targeting young children between the ages of 2.5 and 7 who are attending pre-school or the early years of primary school.
The overarching goal is to help young learners to learn autonomously. This, the authors believe, is a basic life-skill, of critical importance for their future development. Block Magic will provide an attractive and highly motivating approach to teaching teach a broad range of specific logical, mathematical, language, strategic and social skills which will be important for learners in later life. Block Magic will support the acquisition of life skills where alternative teaching methods may be less effective.
The first goal of Block Magic is to work with teachers in pre-school and early primary education to develop and test a new teaching methodology in which well-established teaching methods ( “logic blocks” and “teaching tiles”) are enhanced through the use of advanced, yet low cost RFID technology . The second goal is to encourage take-up of Block Magic by schools and teachers throughout Europe and, if possible, beyond. In recent years several European countries have adopted a policy of integrating children with special needs in regular classrooms, allowing all the members of the class to grow up together. Block Magic will contribute to this and other strategies of “inclusive education”.
The partners do not seek to make a profit from Block Magic. They believe, however, that large-scale uptake will only be possible if Block Magic is promoted by a commercial organization (not necessarily themselves). In this setting, the specific aims of the project are:
- To design and implement the Block Magic hardware and software, ensuring that it is sufficiently flexible to support a very broad range of learning activities and sufficiently low cost to allow wide adoption.
- To work closely with teachers to test and refine the “Block Magic” methodology and technology and to design learning activities, in which pre-school and primary children (normal children and children with special needs) use Block Magic to develop a wide range of cognitive, logical, mathematical, linguistic, strategic and social skills.
- To manufacture a sufficient number of Block Magic kits to allow testing in approximately four classes in Italy, four in Germany, four in Greece and four in Spain.
- To evaluate the effectiveness of Block Magic with a rigorous experimental design, allowing comparison against teaching with conventional methods and correcting for inter-class and inter-teacher differences.
- To conduct an innovative program of dissemination, that focuses on reaching very large numbers of teachers, both in the countries involved in the project and beyond and on effectively involving teachers in the development of the product.
- To make preparations for commercial production of products based on Block Magic, maintaining ownership of the product, providing effective incentives to commercial organizations wishing to exploit and enhance it while providing useful revenue to partner who continue developing the product after the end of the project.