Why Tinker? Why Invent in Our Schools?

19 02 2014
Gonna say it now. This post isn’t for everyone. It’s a rough-thought process. Some will be confused by even what the heck I’m talking about. If you find yourself confused, move on. I’m just telling you now, we’re creeping out on an educational limb here. Rough thoughts, looking into the fog, whatever you want to call it.
I want my kids to be creating all sorts of things. Things that are new…but not only that. I want  something more for them. The inventor/tinkerer-mindset is important, but once we have shifted from traditional lessons to differentiated instruction, to inquiry based learning, to project based learning, to problem based learning to inventing/tinkering, then what?
Maybe instead of “what,” we might ask why? Why are we making those shifts to differentiated instruction? To PBL? To tinkering? I think it’s because we’re looking to create independent thinkers, learners, and doers. And that is great! It’s what I’ve devoted the last decade+ of my life to.
But I wonder…Can we also consider an entrepreneurial-mindset? What if we did?
Seems to me that we have a couple entry gates here: 1) Those who’ll be motivated to create by the idea of making money? By creating to be able to choose their work, their way to spend their lives — basically by having Nextpertautonomy in their lives. Right? That’s why they’ll make stuff?
But not all are motivated that way. We have 2) those who’ll love to create and tinker for the fun of it. But they only tinker and play in their spare time because they never saw a need to DO something different to make that a main focus of their life’s work. They’re working their day jobs, but LOVE their tinkering. So they might need a little encouragement to consider what can be done to better the world with their play/work… To develop an entrepreneurial-mindset to be motivated to do something.
You see, I think — and again, this is rough thinking in draft form based a LOT on my conversations with Kevin Honeycutt — although it might also include starting businesses, an entrepreneurial-mindset is actually something more: It requires a “nextpert” type of visioning to be able see what’s coming. Helping people to see “a piece of something in my mind/hand, when combined with something in your mind/hand makes something spectacular!” A nextpert is always on the lookout for what’s next in their quest for making that thing they’re doing, better!
It’s more than just playing and tinkering, although those are great places to start. Gotta breakout somewhere. But why? Why tinker? Because it creates conditions to develop people who can DO things differently in the world.This is about 3-4 leaps ahead of the traditional-classroom approach. I’m still working up a visual in my mind to convey the point more clearly.
I want to consider all forms, all versions, all studios of “make” to include making dance. Making music. Making food. Making clothes. Making furniture. Making robots. Making code. Making people think differently. Doing differently. Making a difference with your stuff. Making…making…making…Making a living.
What’s your take? Where am I missing a point? An idea? What do you have in your hand, that when combined with what I have in my hand, makes us each better at what we do? I’m just sharing my thought process. Sometime soon I’ll come up with a smart model to try out with kids and other learners.



4 responses

19 02 2014

I really like this idea. I feel it encourages students to keep and exercise their creativity throughout adulthood. As an art teacher, I often feel that students lose their creativity. In my mind, you can always learn HOW to shade properly, but what you are shading is more important (yes, technique is important, too & I teach that as well). I struggle with encouraging students to be creative. They’ve gotten used to it & love it, I feel something like this would help encourage & carry over!

19 02 2014

Thanks, Rebecca! I think that more of the creativity mindset of art should carry over into other classes and, as you said, into life. I appreciate your taking the time to drop your encouragement for these thoughts!

21 02 2014
Ginger? Missing Something on Instruction? Doubt it. - poliquinmath.net

[…] post is a direct response to this post at GingerLewman.wordpress.com. It began its life as a comment in response to her most recent post but rather quickly became too […]

27 02 2014
Why Tinker? Why Invent in Our Schools? | LifePr...

[…] The inventor/tinkerer-mindset is important, but once we have shifted from traditional lessons to differentiated instruction, to inquiry based learning, to project based learning, to problem based learning to inventing/tinkering, …  […]

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