Sunday, May 09, 2010

Tinkering School

Gever Tully on Ted
A friend sent me this link and more can be found on Gever Tulley's Tinkering School Here.As we watch our children walking around with all their attention and shoulders pulled within the hand-held text devices that have come to so dominate their existence, some have come to the conclusion that we are approaching a point of crisis. Kids, however, really do like working in the physical world when they get the chance. Constructing, deconstructing are engaging operations.

But what about skill? There are three important things to consider. The first is that children need to be exposed to the making of beautiful, useful objects. The second is that children need to be trusted with the tools through which beautiful, useful objects are created. Third, children need to be mentored by adults in the making of things. Some of this can happen in school, and it is the great tragedy of our times that we have forgotten and neglected to enable our children to become creators of useful beauty. In our drive for higher test scores, we have neglected to impart the basics of our humanity. Fortunately, some of this can also happen in homes and within families, or we would be really screwed.

I was lucky to grow up in a family active in the crafts and in which finely crafted things framed the home environment, were used and appreciated. The formula is simple. Do beautiful stuff. Making crap and taking crap apart without an eye to beauty can go a ways, providing a sense of confidence and understanding. That is where tinkering can come in. But the next level has to do with a concern for beauty. We must demonstrate both beauty, and the making of it, and then share what we do with kids.

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