In the field of education we are in a constant debate and struggle on how to best educate the children in our schools. Terms and teaching philosophies like differentiation, brain-based instruction, response to intervention, constructivism, direct teaching, active learning, the Socratic method, and many, many, many more are used on campuses every single day in the effort to help students learn the content. I have found the video below to be a truly inspirational one, because the lessons learned by the children in the video are devoid of a standard curriculum or program. The kids have been entrusted to use power tools, nails, 2 x 4s and other unimaginable materials that would never be allowed into our schools.
What grabbed my attention about the Tinkering School is that the kids begin with an idea, a vision, a concept which will develop to fruition through hard work, trial and error, practice and constant revision. Not to be overlooked, in my opinion, one of the most important skills we can teach students, is what to do when something fails. The goal of every classroom is to have successful students, but we tend to forget that the process of failure is a critical component of success. The best thought out plans don’t tend to work the way we envisioned them. Which causes us to either revise our ideas or even abandon an idea and to start from the beginning. In the real world, where innovation is constantly being pushed to the edge, failure and innovation work together hand in hand. Thomas A. Edison realized failure was something we couldn’t live without, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
The Tinkering School forces students to think, revise, create, test, and sometimes start all over again. Many classrooms use Bloom’s Taxonomy to stress the importance of varying the level of questioning to push students to another level of thinking. If you haven’t checked out Bloom’s lately, the newly revised version of Bloom’s no longer ends with Evaluation. Evaluation and Synthesis have switched places at the top of the pyramid, the nouns are now verbs, and Creating sits at the top. From visiting the Tinkering School’s website and viewing Tulley’s presentation I have a pretty good feeling that the students are exposed to the full level of Bloom’s without the overt explicitness as we see, in good faith, sometimes posted in our classrooms. How often will your students get the chance to tinker today?