Dr. Maria Montessori developed auto-didactic materials, or materials that teach when manipulated by a learner. She was born in the 1870’s and passed on the 1950’s.
Think about the technology that was introduced within her lifetime (automobiles, radio, television, airplanes, telephones) and the technology introduced after her death (computers, cell phones, the internet, space travel, satellite communication, GPS).
Dr. Montessori never saw photographs of the earth from space. She never saw a computer in action or marveled at the information available on the internet.
What kind of auto-didactic materials would she create if she were alive today?
These thoughts were inspired by a TED talk by Will Wright, the developer of the SIMS computer games which he says were inspired by the Montessori materials of his youth.
Do you suppose that Larry Page & Sergei Brin (Google founders) Will Wright (Game designer) Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) and others might be interested in endowing an annual prize for the development of new, developmentally appropriate auto-didactic materials?
The Montessori Prize could be like a Nobel Prize for material design, maybe with age categories 0-3, 3-6, 6-12, 12-18, adult.
This would be an interesting way to raise awareness of Montessori education principles within the “toy” and education industry.