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Tinkering towards technology literacy


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How is tinkering connected to true technology literacy? Explore learning theory about constructionism, PBL, tinkering, and design to find out.

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Sylvia, thanks for sharing this presentation. You put a lot of work into this, making it really engaging and informative. Sorry I couldn't be there for the live presentation!
    Peter Price
    Classroom Professor . com
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Tinkering towards technology literacy

  1. 1. Tinkering Toward Technology Literacy Sylvia Martinez President, Generation YES
  2. 2. The dots...• What is technology literacy?• Why is it important?• How do we teach it today? Can we do better?• How does tinkering work as a model of learning?• Bringing it all together
  3. 3. What is technology literacy?• Computers or more?• NAEP says technology literacy should cover “the designed world”• 49 of the 50 states have technology literacy goals and standards; more than 80 percent of the states have adopted, adapted, or referenced ISTE National Education Technology Standards (NETS)
  4. 4. SETDA says...• Technology literacy is “…the ability to responsibly use appropriate technology to communicate, solve problems, and access, manage, integrate, evaluate, and create information to improve learning in all subject areas and to acquire lifelong knowledge and skills in the 21st century.”
  5. 5. 3 Interconnected AbilitiesKnowledge • Vocabulary, recognition, history, tradeoffs, constraintsCritical thinking and decision making • Inquiry, analysis, systemized thinkingCapabilities • skills, information gathering, troubleshooting, fixing things, offer solutions, design processfrom National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and National Research Council
  6. 6. “Doing” connects them
  7. 7. Why is technologyliteracy important? or f nt s LB eme er C ir N u q h gr ad re 8t a ll tt he ha gy t o ed nol d in iev ch de el te lu b f lum 8% y o e inc rricu 9 d u ld b l cu st u oo sho sch e up 2002 thGall -
  8. 8. How do we teach it?
  9. 9. If “doing” is the key connector betweenthe three aspects of tech literacy, weneed a theory of learning thatemphasizes “doing”not lecturing... not a checklist... not testing.
  10. 10. Constructionism • Seymour Papert - collegue of Jean Piaget • Based on constructivisim • Children learn by discovering a world view piece by piece, building on what they already know and can do • Making things in the real world cements this knowledge
  11. 11. Making things is better than being passive Making good things is even betterKnowledge is a consequence of experience Gary Stager
  12. 12. Constructivist/Constructionist Resources• Seymour Papert - Articles and books http://• Constructivist Consortium http://• PBS Online Classroom http:// w2-resources.html
  13. 13. From theory to practiceProject-based learning(PBL)
  14. 14. Project-based Learning1. PBL projects are central, not peripheral to the curriculum2. PBL projects are focused on questions or problems that drive students to encounter (and struggle with) the central concepts and principles of a discipline3. Projects involve students in a constructive investigation4. Projects are student-driven to a significant degree5. Projects are realistic, not school-like J.W. Thomas - A Review of Research on Project-based Learning (2000)
  15. 15. PBL Resources• Edutopia (Core topic: project learning)• Buck Institute for Education http://• Project-based Learning Online http://pbl-
  16. 16. Dots so far...• Technology literacy is important• Technology literacy is multi- dimentional and “doing” is central• Constructionism is a theory of learning that emphasizes doing• PBL is a classroom methodology that supports constructionism and doing
  17. 17. Tinkering as a form of PBL• Bricolage - French for tinkering, using found objects, playfulness in creation.• Papert defined two styles of problem solving: analytical and bricolage • School only honors one style• McGyver, Apollo 13• DIY, HGTV, Make magazine
  18. 18. "The bricoleur resembles the painter who stands backbetween brushstrokes, looks at the canvas, and onlyafter this contemplation, decides what to do next."- Sherry Turkle
  19. 19. Tinkering School - TED Talk Gever Tully
  20. 20. no set curriculumno testslots of stufflots of toolsreal toolsimmersivetimehow to make thingsdeep realization that they can figure things outnothing turns out as plannedevery step is valuablejust start buildingfully committed to project at handsuccess is in the doingfailures are celebrated and analyzedchild-appropriate response to frustrationall materials useful
  21. 21. Can we do this in school?
  22. 22. Sustained Silent Reading (SSR)• Free access to lots of different kinds of books• Minimum censorship. Comic books and magazines are OK; hard and easy books fine• More often and short is better than long, but rare • No tests, book reports, logs, comprehension quizzes • Comfortable space to read • The teacher reads too • For all kids, not a reward or remediation • Supplement with interesting experiences about reading – trips to library, discuss literature, conferences, etc. (not skill building) • Good readers tend to be narrow readers (they stick to one genre) • Look for “home run” books
  23. 23. Sustained Technology Tinkering• Free access to lots of different kinds of software and hardware• The teacher works on computer projects too• No tests, reports, logs, quizzes• Comfortable space to read work on computer projects• Follow their passions• Collaboration
  24. 24. Designhas changed in the real world
  25. 25. Waterfall Design Define DesignBuild Implement Test Complete
  26. 26. Spiral design model (Boehm, 1988)
  27. 27. Whathappened in the 1980s?
  28. 28. Whathappened in the 1980s?
  29. 29. • Use technology to test ideas• Take risks• Reflect, refine• Assessment = does it work, is it interesting, is it beautiful
  30. 30. Connect the dotsresearch, learning theory, practice, outcomes Assessing Technology Literacy: The Case for an Authentic Project-based Approach
  31. 31. Contact information• Sylvia Martinez, President• Generation YES, a non-profit 501c3• email:• URL:• Blog:• Twitter: smartinez