Tinkering Our Work: Massive Open Online Course
In July, 2014, the Tinkering Studio experimented with a new kind of Professional Development offering, one designed for a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). We partnered with Coursera to design a course that would introduce the fundamentals of tinkering to educators from around the world. This resulted in a six-week course called Tinkering Fundamentals: a constructionist approach to STEM learning, intended to share our approach to designing activities, practicing facilitation, and setting up environments conducive to learning about science and art through tinkering. The course invited participants to get engaged with six circuit-based activities: Circuit Boards, Scribbling Machines, Paper Circuits, Sewn Ciruits, Toy Take Apart, and Makey Makey. We produced 29 short videos detailing the way we go about designing activities, from guiding principles to the “nuts and bolts”; we also interviewed several artists, scientists, and thinkers than have influenced our work; and finally we asked teachers form the Lighthouse Community Charter School in Oakland, CA to try these activities in their classrooms, and reflect on them from a teacher’s perspective. We also developed detailed guides for each of the activities shared. The course was a tremendous experience for us: we were able to articulate our approach to tinkering, get participants to actively make and tinker, reflect on their own learning process, and ultimately their teaching practice. We plan to offer this course again in the summer of 2015. Register here.