UAS Robotics Week 2 Reflection

The first thing I learned when writing my response of Hard Play, Growth Mindset and Tinkering is that they are very hard to implement in a traditional educational setting and it is extremely hard to change someone’s mindset.  We have been providing teacher training on growth mindset for almost a year and have been having them integrate some growth mindset activities in their classrooms.  It is hard to determine the effectiveness these activities, but the mindset of many of the teachers is the same.

We haven’t done a lot with growth mindset as a school, but I do wonder what it really takes to help someone change their mindset.  Some teachers have changed their mindset in some areas, but not others.  For example, some of our teachers have bought into the idea that everyone can learn if they work harder.  These same teachers don’t believe this is the case with behavior.  Their attitude is there are good kids and bad kids and we have to punish the bad ones.

Tinkering takes time, space, materials and equipment.  These are things that are hard to find in a traditional high school.  I have attempted to open a Maker Space, but getting all the needed materials, computers, 3D printers and a supervisor has been a challenge.  We will get there, but even when it is up and running, it will only serve a small percentage of our students.

I don’t mean to be pessimistic.  I do think tinkering and growth mindset are great ideas, part of the picture, but they are not magic bullets to systemic change in education.

By waclawskid

Week 2 UAS Robotics – DJW

Essential question: What is the link between “tinkering”, “hard play”, and the “growth mindset”?

Tinkering is trying things out, seeing how things work and trying to create something that you don’t yet know exists. In the book, Ivent to Learn: Making, Tinkering and Engineering in the Classroom by Sylvia Libow and Martin Stager, they define Tinkering as “a playful way to approach problem solving through direct experience, experimentation and from direct experience.”

Growth Mindset is a personal philosophy (many times unconscious) that you can change, you can grow and you can learn new things.  If you don’t have it yet, keeping working on it and you will get there.  To put in simple terms, people who have a fixed mindset give up easier or don’t even try because the have convinced themselves they can’t do it.  If you believe this philosophy then Henry Ford was right when he said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”

The power of growth mindset is that it is based on intrinsic motivation.  It helps develop the attitude that makes a person want to learn. As Popova discusses in her article Fixed vs. Growth, “At the heart of what makes the “growth mindset” so winsome, Dweck found, is that it creates a passion for learning rather than a hunger for approval.” (Popova, 2017)

To answer the question for this week I think you need to have a growth mindset at a very deep level in order to be able to stick with tinkering to actually learn at a deep level. You need one to have the other.

This is also related to Hard Play.  You sometimes have to work hard and put some sweat into learning in order to enjoy the fruits of your labor.  As Simons in her article Work Hard, Play Hard, “Sometimes, it’s really, really, hard to concentrate when you know you’re building something functional, exciting, and eventually really, really, fun to play with.” When you have all three, learning is an adventure.


By waclawskid

Week 1 Reflection – USARobotics

I have to admit that I am getting back into the swing of taking college classes.  I have graduation, and two state sports that I have to deal with right now and my job doesn’t slow down until next week.  This means I understand what many college students go through to keep up with their classes while balancing jobs, homework, kids and other craziness.

I like this weeks assignment because I hadn’t really thought about Constructionism and how hard it is to integrate it into a traditional school setting.  It made me think of why this idea that has a lot face validity hasn’t caught on yet?  I don’t have an answer to that, but it made me think about it.

I learned from Sarah Kitzan that constructionism differentiates itself by creating products. From a chart that Brian Mason posted to his blog I have a better understanding of the differences between traditional and constructionist teaching.  It does seem that that traditional teaching has many negative descriptors like inert and alone.

I look forward to this class and can’t wait to see what I learn am My daughter, who is back from engineering school, is super excited about me getting the Arduino Starter kit.

By waclawskid