Chapter 5 Summary by Aileen Shaffer
This chapter challenges us to shift our mindset as teachers. A key quote highlighting this shift is “Learning is not the direct result of having been taught.” We are challenged to move the responsibility for learning to the student. Our new motto as teachers should be LUMT - “Less Us, More Them.” The educational model suggested is one of constructivism - learner centered (learning results from experiences) vs. Instructionism - teacher directed (learning is a result of being taught). Shifting mindsets is the “most difficult part of adopting a tinkering mindset for the classroom.”
Our role is to demonstrate something then ask the student to become a problem solver. We are called to eliminate the fear of failure and embrace the iterative learning process. Allow students space to create different paths to a solution. Give only the smallest amount of information that is needed to progress the student forward. Teachers are to help students make connections by finding out what they already know, collecting evidence of learning, managing tools and resources, and guiding student inquiry.
One place to start is with an idea or a problem to be solved. Help students progress through the iterative process of planning, making, testing, feedback, adjusting, and then back to planning. Teach students about this process and then let them experience it. One way to transition to this way of thinking is to try cutting your direct instruction time in half which will help you focus your teaching on the big ideas and leave more time for your students to explore the topic and solve problems their own way.
Assessments grades and rubrics can interrupt the learning process. It is an artificial judgement imposed by the teacher and should be designed as to be least distracting to learning. Tinkering takes time and is in opposition to grading systems which value being “done.” Grading diminishes creativity.
A making and innovation approach results in greater teacher satisfaction.
Chapter 6 Summary by Aileen Shaffer
“The best way to activate your classroom is for your students to make something.” Provide variety in the ways that students can demonstrate mastery. As schools increasingly become 1:1 computing, students have great access to many creative tools which enable them to explore ideas in a variety of ways. Publishing, blogging, podcasting, digital media, art, and film making are just a few of the tools available in a 1:1 environment. New technologies like 3D printers open up new tinkering possibilities. However, basic supplies like cardboard and paper can also be used for making.
The book provides one example of shifting to a tinkering mentality to teach electricity. It highlights a creative conductive materials to allow students to explore electric circuits. Check it out using this link:
If possible, a well supplied maker space provides a variety of resources to enable students to explore. 3D printers, cutting machines, power and hand tools, and decorative materials are great resources to get started. Any space that is creative, fun, and comfortable is a good place to start and can be added to and tailored as time goes on. Some names for these spaces are Hackerspace, Makerspace, Fablab, and FabLearn Lab. Your school can name your space anything you feel will provide inspiration. Consider partnering with makers in your community or other schools to keep stay inspired. The idea is to open students’ imaginations to a world of possibilities and there is no wrong way to start.
"If every child were to be given access to a computer, computers would be cheap enough for every child to be given access to a computer."
Links to Weekly