Both were visionaries, innovators and used their creative genius to develop materials to meet our human need for information and learning. If Maria Montessori were alive today I like to think she’d be exploring an ipad to see how it would fit to extend the Montessori learning experience for children. Better yet, maybe she’d be consulting with Jobs to design apps based on her observations of children’s learning.
Montessori was an innovator, carefully observing how children learn and devised tactile materials to appeal to children’s visual, auditory and tactile senses. She opened the way to a progressive way of education that follows the child honouring individual interests, the need for movement and communication and an integrated curriculum. In today’s world, she would likely have noticed that technology could serve as a tool to help achieve these goals.
Although nothing can replace the authenticity of actual physical materials or social interactions that children have in a dynamic Montessori classroom virtual manipulatives may extend learning beyond the classroom. They may even allow Montessori education to continue at home, in the car, at the hockey arena or on a vacation- perhaps encouraging a whole new view of an ‘uninterrupted work cycle’.
Most of the new Montessori applications developed by Montessori educators have a built in control of error to make sure that self-correction continues for learners. Virtual replications of Montessori materials such as the stamp game, hundred board or moveable alphabet may allow children to share Montessori materials with friends and others… maybe even giving further exposure to the brilliance of the Montessori method.
At Eagle Harbour Montessori we will soon introduce our young learners to the ipad as another tool for learning. As educators trained in the Montessori method, we will be carefully observing our young students to see how technology works to complement the enchanting environment of the elementary Montessori classroom.