Central to the Tinkering Studio’s mission is sharing the results of our research and development, as well as the process by which we develop ideas and activities, with the field at large. Internally, we are constantly engaged in a process of being reflective about our own work, and we try to articulate our ideas and philosophy via a range of publications. Here are some of our most recent and notable attempts at putting our thoughts down on paper and inspire others.
Bronwyn Bevan, Mike, Petrich, Karen Wilkinson Educational Leadership, December 2014/January 2015 Vol 72 No. 4
Are makerspaces—where children can create gas-powered Roman chariots, singing greeting cards, or playdough circuit boards—just the site for a slightly wacky explosion of inventiveness? Or can these maker activities be channeled to support deep STEM learning? The Tinkering Studio in San Francisco has been developing maker activities for years. This article describes how tinkering activities can help students develop productive science learning identities—that is, to be interested in science, to feel capable of doing science, and to want to do science.
A professional development tool for educators
One of the most interesting and rich questions that comes up regularly when we talk about our work is also one of the hardest to answer: what are people actually learning while tinkering? The question becomes really difficult to answer if one tries to quantify learning according to externally imposed measures, like the ones used in a school setting. However, anyone who has been directly involved in facilitating tinkering activities can feel that there clearly is learning happening, and that it can be very powerful.
Developed in a collaboration between the Research + Practice Collaboratory and the Tinkering Studio team, these Learning Dimensions of Making and Tinkering are our attempt to begin to articulate the dimensions of learning that are made possible by making, so that both researchers and practitioners can refine their practice to support those outcomes and also be able to share those outcomes with others.