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Art of Tinkering Reflections Part 3

Art of Tinkering Reflections Part 3
shadow of a trophy

Varied and valuable reflections occurred throughout the Art of Tinkering Workshop.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been sharing my experience from the Art of Tinkering Workshop (check out Week 1 and Week 2). In order to write these posts I’ve been reflecting a lot and it’s through these reflections that I’m starting to realise the learning that I experienced. As one of my professors used to say, “you don’t learn from experience, you learn from reflecting on the experience”. But my experience reflecting on the workshop hasn’t just been limited to post-workshop reflection. Reflection was a core component of the workshop itself. After every activity we took time to reflect on what we had done and to consider our own ideas of what it means to tinker.

Classroom table filled with toys, instruments and blocks with person contemplating how to finish a tinkering project

A participant ponders their plan with a “Less to More” graph in the background.

During the workshop we reflected in a variety of ways. Sometimes we considered activities on a spectrum of “Less to More”. Other times we reflected through responding to a prompt like “what surprised you?” or “what did you find challenging?”. Reflection was such a key component of the workshop that it formed one of the three guiding principles that the Facilitation team embodied in the planning and execution of the workshop. These guiding principles were Plan > Facilitate > Reflect (Repeat). 

But even without these formal moments of reflection, reflection was constantly being encouraged. During activities, facilitators would ask questions, “why are you doing that?”, “what do you want this to do?”. These questions encouraged us to share what we were doing and to reflect on how they helped execute our intention.

Group drawing and discussing a plan around a table
Group reflections were a regular part of the workshop.
Presenter point to image on a screen with participants looking on

Moments of reflection also led to wider conversation about perspectives, definitions, and personal contexts. This was valuable because it expanded my understanding of different contexts for tinkering and learning, and how activities could be adapted for different audiences. One of my major takeaways from the workshop was that many tinkering activities are not age dependent. Participants of any age can engage in impactful tinkering activities, what matters is the type of reflection that follows the activity. Experiencing this first hand has been pretty profound and I was only able to experience it because I was able to be a learner in a tinkering environment for the first time in a long time. The depth of reflections changed the experience of tinkering for me.

Participant drawing a diagram with colored pens
Reflection was not limited to verbal communication. Mediums like drawing and writing elicited different responses.

From reflecting on the overall workshop experience, my ultimate takeaway is the value and impact that a considered tinkering experience can have on a learner. Through tinkering I discovered so much about the peers in the workshop, and I pushed my own understanding of learning. I’m excited to share these experiences with more people in my new role with the Tinkering Studio!

Thanks for following along over these last few weeks. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out. I’d love to hear from you -