Integration of Computers Into the
Montessori Curriculum
Davina Armstrong
CS294, Human Centered Computing
Fall, 1999
Overview
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What is Montessori?
Current uses of computers in the
Montessori environment
Evaluation of current uses
Proposed use of information appliances
Foreseeable obstacles
What Is Montessori?
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About Dr. Maria Montessori
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Born in Italy in 1870
First woman doctor in Italy in 1896
Left medicine to teach in 1906
Opened Casa dei Bambini - “Children’s House”
Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 1949, 1950, 1951
Died in 1952
The Montessori Method
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Children teach themselves
Prepared environment
“Follow the child”
Developmental planes
• Birth-6 years: sensorial exploration
• 6-12 years: conceptual exploration
• 12-18 years: humanistic exploration
• 18-24 years: specialized exploration
What Is Montessori? (Cont’d)
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The Materials
– Mathematics
– Language
Demo
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Multiplication of multi-digit numbers with
the checkerboard
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7
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6
Current Uses of Computers
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Practical Life
Drills, phonetics programs
– Applications used in conjunction with the traditional
Montessori Materials
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Research
– World Wide Web, newsgroups
– CD-ROMs
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Games
HyperStudio
Current Uses of Computers
(cont’d)
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Word processing
Logo, MicroWorlds
Educational research
– Software for preschool classrooms
– Teaching Machines
– Kid’s Space
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Simulations of Montessori Materials
Drawing programs
Evaluation of Current Uses
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Good, in keeping with the Montessori Method
– LOGO, MicroWorlds
– Research - children ask and answer own questions
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OK, good educational value, but not very
“Montessori”
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Some drills
Phonetics
HyperStudio
Word processing
Drawing programs
Evaluation of Current Uses
(cont’d)
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Bad, no educational value, in fact detrimental
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MathBlaster
The Art Of War
Games
Simulation of Montessori materials
Proposed Use of Information
Appliances
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Montessori materials as information
appliances
– Retain the “look & feel” of the original Montessori
materials, but have enhanced features by virtue of
being computers
• Battery-powered
• Wireless communication
– Possible enhancements
• Feedback to child
• Recording for teacher to evaluate
Foreseeable Obstacles
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Technology does not yet exist
– Long battery life needed
– Tiny (to fit into the beads)
– Durable
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Resistance from teachers
– “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” - Montessori Method has been
working well for decades
– Fear of the children being “programmed” by the computers
– Lack of comprehension regarding information appliances;
can’t get away from the PC model
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talk slides (Powerpoint)