Thinkering – On Tinkering and Thinking

I was reading this article over on O’Reilly about education and what we teach these days – now I work for a College in Ontario, Mohawk College specifically, and whenever I’ve taught I’ve always focused on the practical. Looking back on my own formal education, I really only remember the things I’ve made, and rarely remember the things I’ve learned. Looking at my informal education – it’s all self-taught, and project based. Need to know how to parse data with regular expressions? Read about it and do it. Try. Experiment. That’s what has been successful for me. The problem is when the tinkering is not well guided – when the experimentation leads to frustration and usually giving up… so whenever these ideas are implemented in a formal setting some thought needs to be given to the whole experience. Experimentation allows the learner to take ownership of the learning, in the form of the tangible product created by the experimentation – the output.

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