As mentioned in the previous post, the Tinkering Studio is part of a global collaborative project focusing on the intersection of technology and play. One of our partners is the Brazilian Creative Learning Network (BCLN), which is a network of educators, artists, researchers, entrepreneurs, students and organizations dedicated to promoting more hands-on, creative, and inclusive practices in the education of children and young people in Brazil.
We are currently working together to prototype and develop tinkering activities for future professional development workshops for BCLN (on a small scale). We wanted to document our efforts and share our learnings through a series of blog posts.
A good start:
The Tinkering Studio has previously collaborated on a few projects with BCLN, and we know from those experiences that we have a shared understanding of creative learning and tinkering. That is a good start, as we feel that having a shared understanding is essential for meaningful collaboration. We are also excited to work closely with the BCLN members, who come from a variety of backgrounds, including school teachers, researchers, and coordinators with the secretary of education.
In addition, BCLN has been running a portal network for teachers for over six years, where teachers can connect, share, and reflect on various creative learning projects. It was wonderful to learn that the network had spread as a grassroots movement and that there was already a networking mechanism in place to connect those enthusiastic educators in Brazil.
RBAC is a Portuguese abbreviation for BCLN, which stands for Rede Brasileira de Aprendizagem Criativa (Brazilian Creative Learning Network).
After a couple of initial meetings, we have decided to prioritize the following as short-term focuses to help them achieve their long-term goal of promoting hands-on and creative educational practices throughout Brazil.
1. Experience tinkering activities as learners
2. Prototype the activity design for teachers
3. Co-create a professional development workshop for teachers
→How can we use documentation to make learning and tinkering more visible?
→How can we support teachers to develop tinkering activities as co-designers rather than simply following “recipes”?
→How can we model facilitation practices to support hands-on, creative, and student-centered learning?
“To promote tinkering and exploration culture in educational activities, to make them understand through experience, more than just the ‘recipe’ of the activities —how can we spread this from teacher to teacher? “
--- Nathan Rabinovitch, BCLN
Joint R&D sessions:
We had a brainstorming session and chose these six activities as the subject of future R&D.
LED light & shadow box
Cart of forces
Scratch video sensing
Our R&D efforts are aimed at identifying ways to use tinkering activities to exemplify specific tinkering values, qualities, and dispositions. For example, one of the important qualities of tinkering is an emphasis on “process over product”. What activity, then, could we use to best support “process over product"? And how could we successfully demonstrate that the activity exemplifies the tinkering values in future professional development (PD) workshops?
To answer these questions, both of our teams, BCLN and Tinkering Studio, as well as two selected Brazilian teachers, began prototyping activities for future PD workshops. The first activity we chose was balance explorations. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to connect with like-minded educators in Brazil and get to know them better through an authentic playful tinkering experience.
(To be continued)