[RE]LEARN 2020 - The Learning Innovation Festival has ended
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Thursday, November 12 • 20:45 - 21:00
Making Learning: Follow, Tinker, Play, Share

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Recent studies and neuroscience point to the benefits of learning-by-making (constructionism), but teachers sometimes struggle with how to incorporate this learning method in their classes. The ‘Follow/Tinker/Play/Share’ structure (FTPS) is designed to offer a robust and flexible framework that teachers can use regardless of their discipline or the demographic of their learners. The keynote session will introduce this simple framework for incorporating constructionist learning, accompanied by theory and research that supports it. And the following interactive workshop will use FTPS to offer participants an opportunity to incorporate this approach into their own pedagogical practices and contexts by designing their own FTPS assignments.

Beginning with direct instruction (‘Follow’), learners create a flexible ‘platform’ project on which the later steps of the process build. They then proceed to guided practice (‘Tinker’) where they explore, test, and refine their understanding by modifying existing features and elements in this platform project. Once they have done so, learners are ready for more independent practice (‘Play’), demonstrating their skills and understanding by building, exploring, inventing, and problem-solving as they create projects that address a local concern. This third phase also offers a genuine context for situated performance assessment. Finally, at the fourth and final stage, learners engage critically and perform authentic assessment by comparing their projects with others, by submitting their projects to a competition, or by combining their projects with others to produce a hybrid project that addresses a larger problem or that addresses the existing problem more robustly (‘Share’).

By situating constructionist learning in learners’ own communities and contexts, the FTPS framework helps them develop skills and experience that are not bound by the confines of the classroom. The real-world experience learners gain helps them consider their own roles as problem-solvers and developers, fostering critical thinking as they consider how tools, materials, and approaches contribute to their solutions. The learning environment based around the FTPS framework therefore welcomes and leverages a wide variety of technologies, tools, and community-based approaches.

As they design and develop solutions that fit their own contexts, learners also discover the importance of diverse personal approaches — doing so within (and with awareness of) discourse communities both within the classroom and in the larger community outside. Their engagement is supported by a strongly collaborative learning environment and guided by a teacher who helps them develop disciplinary knowledge, skills, and literacies by keeping their projects closely connected to disciplinary goals and standards. Unlike more traditionally instructionist approaches, the constructionism of an FTPS learning environment therefore emphasizes learner agency as learners work collaboratively with teachers and fellow learners to articulate and meet mutually designated learning goals.

Finally, as learners consider the feasibility of their solutions from a number of perspectives and alter their designs to solve the challenges they’re addressing, they develop critical and communications skills, culminating in the “share” phase where they are asked to present their solutions to others in the learning community and to participate in various forms of evaluation and assessment.

avatar for William Rankin

William Rankin

Designer, researcher, & thought-leader in constructionist learning, Unfold Learning
Dr William Rankin is an educational theorist, designer, speaker, and consultant with experience in higher education, Fortune 500 companies, small tech startups, and private consulting. He has worked with governments, educational organizations, and companies to develop and further... Read More →

Thursday November 12, 2020 20:45 - 21:00 CET