AskPang has an thoughtful reflection on Tinkering as a Mode of Knowledge: Production in the Digital Age, a conference presented by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Tinkering isn’t so much a specific set of technical skills: there tends to be a pretty instrumental view of knowledge. You pick up just enough knowledge about electronics, textiles, metals, programming, or paper-folding to figure out how to do what you want. It certainly respects skill, but skills are a means, not an end: mastery isn’t the point, as it is for professionals. Competence and completion are.


How does Tinkering help us learn? How do our schools encourage Tinkering as a technique for exploring the world around us or our students? Add comments to tell us what you think about Tinkering as a technique for teaching and learning.

Chris Connors

Chris Connors

Making things is the best way to learn about our world.

  • jovial_cynic

    I have three daughters, and they were quite eager to watch the new Tinker Bell movie.

    As it turns out, Tinker Bell is a “tinker fairy,” which means it’s her job to try to figure out how things work and how to improve them, using found objects around her. What a wonderful way to encourage craftiness and resourcefulness!

    My 4-year old daughter recognizes that being a “tinker” is cool, and that her daddy is a tinker dad. Makes me smile. She tells me she wants to be tinker girl.