Tynkertopia is designed to inspire deeper learning through deep questioning, and have the potential to revolutionize the way we approach teaching and learning. The Tynkertopia philosophy is to view learning as a highly personal endeavor requiring the student, rather than the teacher, to initiate the learning process. Teachers act as guides for inquiry-based approaches to the development of knowledge and thinking processes.
Learning at Tynkertopia focuses on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, The Arts, and Mathematics) and happens when kids or adults design and make real things based on individual interest. Tinkering is a playful way to approach and solve problems through experimentation and discovery. Engineering builds a bridge between the intuition of tinkering and the formal aspects of science by being able to explain, measure, and predict the world around us. Art allows students’ projects to become something aesthetically pleasing. The practical skills that are developed through this process build creative confidence (a way of experiencing the world that generates new approaches and solutions) in students.
One of the main goals of Tynkertopia is to help students to develop the full capacity, creativity and confidence to become agents of change in their personal lives and in their community. Such environments use design thinking in which learners use the tools and strategies to tackle real-world, engaging, student-identified challenges.
Tinkering is a mindset for problem solving that is distinctly different from the analytical mindset that is traditionally taught more didactically in traditional schools. Tinkering allows students to play with their own ideas, try different things, contemplate what to do next, trust their intuition, and learn from their mistakes. It is fun, creative, purposeful, and mindful at the same time. Finally, it involves the iterative engineering design process.
Learning in Tynkertopia-like environments is not new. It is based upon the thinking of John Dewey, Seymour Papert, and Howard Gardner, each of whom focused on authentic and personalized learning experiences that requires a dynamic iterative process like a project-to-accomplish or a problem-to-solve. As such, Tynkertopia encourages learners to make real things, to take pride in their creations, and share not only the things they make, but also the process of making them.
Tynkertopia aims to inspire deeper learning based on student ownership of their learning, foster curiosity, tinkering, and iterative learning, which in turn leads to better thinking through better questioning. This learning environment fosters enthusiasm for learning, student confidence, and natural collaboration. Ultimately, learning in this environments lead to determination, independent and creative problem solving, and an authentic preparation for the real world by simulating real-world challenges. In short, Tynkertopia is less of a classroom and more of an environment for experimentation, discovery, learning, and fun.