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Clockwork objects, enhanced learning: Automata Toys Construction in 1mary education for Learning to Learn promotion, creativity fostering & Key Competences acquisition
Start date: Oct 1, 2011,

The project builds on the universal significance of toys as semiotic objects and, therefore, as poweful learning tools (Van Leeuwen 2006) and on the intuition of the benefits that a pedagogic practices based on Automata construction could have. Automata shape up within their structure an interaction between fantasy and reality. The lower part, their base, is in fact constituted by a set of mechanical elements (cams, cranks, gears, ratchets, levers etc.)and the upper part is a totally “off the top of the soul” product, a little artistic and fantasy work Automata Toys can be defined as “ imaginary story telling mechanical sculptures”. Through their motion Automata perform a narration process; just like the Japanese Aiku, Automata are “a snapshot of the world in a twist”. Movement is thus used as a narrative device , whereas mechanical programming- which per se enhances basic scientific skills- becomes a story telling resource. Automata are thus a symbolic interpretation of a text. The steps occurring to realize an Automata and to make it visible to the others (reading, reporting, designing, building, film) enact several pedagogical implications whose potential outcomes are vast & really need to be systematized and transferred at EU level. . Basing on constructivism pedagogy and exploiting Automata Toys potentialities both as child engineering learning tools and as child tailored communication devices, CLOHE aims at building a didactics that combines literacy skills and Key Competences thus enabling pupils (and teachers as transferring subjects) to enhance learning to learn capabilities, promote basic skills (mainly reading/writing), personal and creative re-elaboration, and finally also digital skills. Mutual learning will be enhanced both physically, within the local school community dimension, and transnationally in an EU wide perspective. An added value of the proposal is the potential application of the methodology to special needs learning.

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