I recently bought an Arduino Starter Kit to begin ‘tinkering’ with and as I am a complete beginner with the Arduino I thought I better also buy a “Getting Started with Arduino” book. So far I have only read an introduction but that includes some of the philosophies and principles behind the development of the Arduino platform. The following statement really resonated with me and I think could have a real affect on how I teach and plan my lessons.
Tinkering is what happens when you try something you don’t quite know how to do, guided by whim, imagination, and curiosity. When you tinker, there are no instructions – but there are also no failures, no right or wrong ways of doing things. It’s about figuring out how things work and reworking them.
When I think about all the names of people on my History of ICT display board, from the likes of Blaise Pascal and Gottfried Leibniz through the early computer pioneers, such as Tommy Flowers (Colossus) and on to names such as Steve Wozniak (Apple) , they can all be described as “Tinkerers”.
I can remember, at the age of about 10, receiving a tiny pack of screwdrivers in a Christmas Cracker. This tiny set of screwdrivers made it into my school pencil case and I used to use them to take apart anything I could find (which at that time was mainly calculators – I got caught trying to take apart the school’s only BBC Micro).
Do you give children in your class the freedom to “tinker”, to be “guided by whim, imagination and curiosity”?
Long live the Tinkerers.