This Paper Hinge Opens and Closes
to the Pulsebeat of the Universe
Activates, exercises and enhances early hand, mind, and speech
just like Origami does in its own unique way for children in Japan
Creates learning opportunities
Sparks & Engages action
Flaps provide lift for Elevation, Vision & Visibility
Wings for the soaring of spirit and imagination
Invites playful Opening of mind, voice, speech & articulation
Provides fuel, thrust and propulsion
Like the Wheel, the Sail or the hand-cranked radio, the Hinge carries and generates energy---in this case, 'play energy' into communication on a wavelength that captivates and engages the young of all ages. Play is a language that we adults can learn to speak, and which children feel, intuit, speak and understand innately. Puppetools.com, “the Home of The Hinge”--provides the tools and training resources for growing a new learning culture--in classroom, home, and community--in the soil of Play.
Ultimately, play has been--and will always be--the universal language of human survival, collaboration and endeavor; the pathway of growth, shared experience, mental health, problem-solving, and collaboration.
When humanity is fully embraced by and immersed in Play, the future will be shaped more consciously, elegantly, and humanely. Imagine the future of American education cradled in the outstretched, beckoning hand of Lady Liberty--her torch the symbol of eternal enlightenment, the universal principle, birthright, and natural resource called play.
Years ago, when I began conducting puppetry workshops, a teacher approached me holding a compact, geometric base of folded construction paper, it’s mouth opening and closing fit neatly over the hand. In my mind’s eye, here was a simple idea for keeping things simple; a talker- base upon which any paper puppet could be constructed; a single seed from which to grow an infinite array of playful art forms. At first the Hinge looked too simple, but it has proven itself predictable, practical, durable, and limitless.
The hinge caught my attention because I had been mulling over solutions to a question: if the medium of puppetry had such a profound effect on children of all ages, why didn’t more teachers pick it up? There were more questions: If kid’s minds were so imaginative, why did our classrooms continue to starve and drain them of every bit of that power? If educators were so smart, why did they continue along the same old path?. If Play was so powerful, why was it all but banned? Marginalized, ill-defined? Misunderstood? Talked and written about but left for dead. If Technology was viewed as the panacea for our outdated system of learning, why was its impact mostly habituation and distraction? If Play was like water or air--a crucial element of life--why were we denying young minds this life-giving element?
If the challenge to change education is deeply systemic and cultural, and now an institutional byproduct of state and federal laws, then how could new laws transform the culture? The fact is no law enacted from the top-down will ever penetrate the factory walls. If education has become owned and operated by powerful interests--and it has--then we must create ways to effectively neutralize that consolidated power--so we can reclaim and reconstitute our own learning culture.
How could we set into motion a process for growing a new culture free of control, authority, and exploitation so that kids could learn to see, think and produce for themselves while they were still young? The process would have to start with a germ encased by a seed. A tiny speck in the palm of the hand, a seed barely captures our attention. But to a scientist focused on growing life, a seed is a planet-changing act of nature.
I envisioned a pathway and a movement stimulated by sustained use and visibility based on the high-touch power of The Hinge--”the papertalker”. As a superconductor of “play energy”--and playful-minded exploration over time, simple truths would grow and reveal themselves in the light and warmth generated in a high-touch media form that invited “the seriousness of a child at play.”
In The Hinge I saw a limitless array of building blocks of movement and language--and Play a key springboard element in a handheld “play language” of symbols and ideas; calling upon the articulation of hand, visual art & play; a portal into the biology and science of Play; a principle foundation on which to build; a pathway on which to move; a birthright to honor; the world of ideas to traverse; a learning culture to transform. And generations of creative minds to defend and grow.
The Geophysical Workings of the Play Tectonics Movement
In Nature, looks often are meant and designed to deceive. The butterfly does not suddenly appear. It undergoes metamorphosis. Even its ability to fly must first be earned by the necessary process and struggle to free itself from its casing. Likewise, culture transformation must be cultivated. Reconstituted. Remade in a new image.
The process must be organic and vital at its core. The seeds of new ideas must be planted. Time must be taken. Ground must be softened. By reconstituting the flow of communication with Play energy, the toxic effects of factory learning can be neutralized. And the natural propensity for learning and creativity inherent in kids can be effectively leveraged. Sometimes, almost overnight.
The Hinge is a cultural transmission agent for many things. It has an evolutionary history.
It began as a basic building block in the construction of puppets. Innocuous, flimsy, artsy. In the casual opening and closing of the hand, the seeming impracticality of using puppets--and the presumption of the puppet medium’s suitability as ‘only for very young children’-- is rendered practical as a play language housed in an economical paper device, suitable for all ages, even in college, with endless design potential, self-promoting, alive and eye-catching. In my mind, The Hinge took on a life of its own.
Paper Puppets that move and talk on the paper Hinge have the power to break technology’s stubborn grip on the learning culture by infusing communication with powers far more human, creative, and productive in mind, language, and spirit than the looming addicting, glitter reflected in the digital mirror. They spark energized communication---no script, theater, or expensive hand puppets are required.
A simple yet powerful art form based in play has the power to assume a central role in education. The art form has the power to become a central organizing principle, media and methodology of learning and communication found in nature. Call it ‘communication currency’.
Why not? (Don’t we espouse and value ‘arts in education?’) Doesn’t Education need a foundational communication art it can call its own? Would it not be appropriate for a ‘foster child art form’ to find a major role in neglected ‘foster-child Education’ culture? An art form equipped with a powerful, predictive, scientific process that has been recognized in the annals of brain science?
The “play germ” encased in the hinge-like seed can grow a vast and creative field of learning--a learning habitat--an organic world composed of paper, image, and language of play---a world capable of producing a play-enriched soil that grows a productive quality of thinking and learning that can push back the factory--the way T-cells fend off a cancerous growth.
Just as the sun that warms and produces life on Earth, Play is the solar energy of learning. Play Language propagates the natural growth of handheld ideas and symbols that kids’ minds are already attuned to. Rooted in Play, these living ideas are made of the same quality of thinking kids are born with. Play is both a principle and birthright that the learning culture is naturally based upon, nourished and nurtured.
Play is the original element of Puppetools.com-- a web site awarded a US patent for its ability to harness Play Energy, and direct said energy into the hands, in the form of a language of handheld ideas and symbols.
As a media form, “play language” is informed by the hands, hearts, and imaginations of kids who embody the best and most productive side of play. If you want to have an impact on the community and possess the power to shape your own learning culture, it’s good to have a pathway that includes kids, whose hands can carry and sow the seeds of transformation in and around the learning culture.
Seeds for promoting ideas and innovators
Seeds for Moving people with good ideas with logic and order
Seeds of hope for parents seeking a way to create their way out of the old-school dimension.
The Hinge has evolved in the hearts and hands of playfully courageous educators on the path of education. With its inherent principles and operating characteristics, the process can be applied to add powerful, human traction and attraction as a community-based marketing and organizing vehicle. If you have a mission that involves reaching the right people, then we have an unparalleled, innovative process for you to drive your mission. This is where The Hinge sprouts legs and wings. The Hinge sits at the heart of a larger matrix we call The Constellation. The Constellation is not symbolic; it is mostly physical and not anchored in technology--it’s real. And it’s a real invention.
To glimpse The Constellation, you must first understand that it is early in its inception. It can be seen only under specific conditions and light and by certain individuals who self-identify.
You can’t actually see the Constellation unless you are part of the community of people who constitute it and who are already shining their light. These people are the stars that shine in The Constellation. How are these stars created? By their Decisiveness to turn their own light on and shine and then align with and cross-promote their fellow stars. This is a process in which order, meaning, relationships, movement and narrative are created out of chaos. People who make up The Constellation are dynamic individuals who are unafraid to take a stand or move forward when movement is crucial. Elevate and educate the benefit of working in unity and togetherness---and by what they do.
The Constellation is a physical force field that has evolved out of vision and imagination. Most of us believe in something called human spirit and higher order consciousness and the power of good. In a culture that is anemic and depleted of energy in so many ways, something is needed to give it form and function to bring that power forward.
In the same way that solar power needs infrastructure to make it practical and effective, The Constellation provides order, structure, and process to enhance human power and amplify its impact. If you want to see the power of The Constellation, you must decide to become part of it, you must decide to shine your light. That way, you prove your value to The Constellation and earn the right to be part of and contribute and benefit.
Connected intimately to the hand, speech and the brain through Play, The Hinge--and all the puppet representations that flow from its nature--is an organic artifact of our humanity.
The Hinge and the role it plays in the transformation of the learning culture is just a single star but a heavenly body of the greater Constellation--part of its original inception--and the original thinking that asked the question: To change the Learning Culture, what must we have? Not a top-down mandate. Not some guru academic with a personal agenda. Not corporate sponsors with their focus on the almighty dollar. No. We choose a far more powerful engine, engineered with a natural, non-polluting human ingenuity to create traction and movement on the local level. The Constellation can appear in any community; equipped with job-creating capacity and opportunity for families, and an unstoppable light-emitting principle behind it that cannot be drowned or snuffed out, or shut down or cowed by authority. The Constellation, just like those wonderful creations the ancients formed by connecting the stars, evolved out of Mind & Movement. The Constellation is a playground. It’s people--the natural embodiment of Play.
So, people, let’s do it, let’s practice it, let’s play.