Engage as educators to reflect on the experience:
After the hands-on exploration period, we did not forget about the educator’s hat that we had set aside. The following are excerpts from the comments that the BCLN members made while reflecting on this activity from the perspective of an educator.
>> “Changing hats is important to experience the activity first as a learner first, and afterwards, to reflect as an educator. Direct experience with the materials as a learner is an important first step in tinkering, and it will help us better support our students as they have similar problems and paths.”
>> “Learning happens when things don’t go right. Learning from mistakes is really important, but we also need activities where we can make mistakes as part of the process and have the opportunity to not get things right at the first attempt.”
>> “We need teachers who are open to many different solutions/answers. This is not like a test where there is only one right answer.”
>> “When bringing tinkering activities into school, we want to make sure that tinkering is not just a fun activity that is used only as an introduction or a dessert. Tinkering should be *fully* integrated in school practice, not just added as something fun.”
>> “Process over product. Document the process, not the final product. Documenting the process will help you remember what happens during the process, which you might forget later.”
Overall, we had an amazing time collaborating with the BCLN team. We chose balance exploration for the first R&D theme because it exemplifies one of our tinkering tenets, which is “Process over product.” The fact that balancing sculptures are ephemeral and do not last long may also play a role here. It encouraged us to take pictures of the process, and taaught us that there is more to learn and tell about the process than the finished product. It was fantastic to hear those reflection comments from the BCLN educators in the end, and we’re excited to continue prototyping activities that can be used for professional development training for teachers as an introduction to tinkering/creative learning.
One last thing that should be mentioned is that tinkering takes time. We allocated 1.5 hours for this R&D session but it got extended to 2 hours. Although a two-hour time slot may appear long on your Google calendar, we really need to allot ample time for both tinkering and reflection. And in fact, even after this R&D is over, we are still grappling with what we experienced at this time.