Vossoughi, S. & Bevan, B. (October, 2014). Making and Tinkering: A review of the Literature. National research Council Committee on Out of School Time STEM: 1-55.
Vossoughi and Bevan (2014) conducted a literature review of educational research on making and tinkering. They considered what was known about learning opportunities for young people afforded by high-quality tinkering and making experiences. Specifically they reviewed the historical roots of making, the emerging design principles that characterized tinkering and making programs, the pedagogical theories and practices that lead to supportive and collaborative learning environments, as well as the possibilities and tensions associated with equity-oriented teaching and learning.
Stocklmayer, S. M., Rennie, L. J., & Gilbert, J. K. (2010). The roles of the formal and informal sectors in the provision of effective science education. Studies in Science Education, 46(1): 1–44. doi:10.1080/03057260903562284
This Stocklmayer, Rennie, and Gilbert article outlines current challenges in preparing youth to go into science careers and to be scientifically literate citizens. The authors suggest creating partnerships between informal and formal education to address these challenges in school.
Sharples, M., Scanlon, E., Ainsworth, S., Anastopoulou, S., Collins, T., Crook, C., Jones, A., Kerawalla, L., Littleton, K., Mulholland, P., & O’Malley, C. (2014). Personal inquiry: Orchestrating science investigations within and beyond the classroom. Journal of the Learning Sciences. Doi: 10.1080/10508406.2014.944642
Mobile technology can be used to scaffold inquiry-based learning, enabling learners to work across settings and times, singly or in collaborative groups. It can expand learners’ opportunities to understand the nature of inquiry whilst they engage with the scientific content of a specific inquiry. This Sharples et al. paper reports on the use of the mobile computer-based inquiry toolkit nQuire. Teachers found the tool useful in helping students to make sense of data from varied settings.
Bouillion, L. M., & Gomez, L. M. (2001). Connecting school and community with science learning: Real world problems and school-community partnerships as contextual scaffolds. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(8), 878–898. doi:10.1002/tea.1037
To improve science education for culturally and linguistically diverse students, schools and communities can create “mutual benefit partnerships” to identify and address local problems. Through the example of the Chicago River Project, Bouillion and Gomez illustrate how such partnerships can connect formal learning contexts with the rich ways communities experience science outside of school.
Bricker, L. A., & Bell, P. (2014). “What comes to mind when you think of science? The perfumery!”: Documenting science-related cultural learning pathways across contexts and timescales. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 51(3), 260–285. doi:10.1002/tea.21134
Current science education reforms emphasize the ways in which students’ scientific practices, such as experimenting, collecting data, and interpreting results, develop over time. Bricker and Bell suggest that practices develop not only over time, but also across multiple settings and opportunities. Their study shows how, over several years, one youth’s identification with science was shaped by many everyday moments, social configurations, and collaborators.
Petrich, M., Wilkinson, K., & Bevan, B. (2013) It looks like fun but are they learning? in Honey, M., & Kanter, D. E. (Eds.). Design, Make, Play: Growing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators. Routledge.
Petrich, Wilkinson, and Bevan (2013) explore three areas of design principles related to tinkering. The authors share their thinking related to the activity design, environmental design, and facilitation practices involved in creating and supporting rich tinkering experiences for museumgoers. They wrote a chapter on tinkering, which describes how the group initiated, cultivated, and facilitated a making and tinkering space on the floor of a museum. Specifically the chapter outlines principles for the activity design, the tinkering space, and the facilitation practices. The authors conclude by connecting these principles to conceptions of learning in general and engineering practices more specifically.
Arena, D. A., & Schwartz, D. L. (2013). Experience and explanation: Using videogames to prepare students for formal instruction in statistics. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 23(4), 538–548. doi:10.1007/s10956-013-9483-3
Formal readings and lectures are effective at delivering explanations, but the information they impart can be so densely packed and de-contextualized that students may not make full sense of the content. Arena and Schwartz found that video games have the potential to unlock the expository content delivered by lectures, textbooks, and diagrams.
Blikstein, P. (2013). Digital fabrication and “making” in education: The democratization of invention. In J. Walter-Herrmann & C. Büching (Eds.), FabLabs: Of machines, makers and inventors (pp. 1–21). Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Publishers.
The field of informal science education has embraced “making” and design activities as a powerful approach to engaging learners. This chapter by Blikstein finds that in order to create disruptive spaces where students can learn STEM, design and build inventive projects, educators . This paper provides theoretical background and concrete cases that illuminate program design and implementation issues related to making.
Barron, B., & Bell, P. (in press). Learning environments in and out of school: Catalysts for learning within and across settings. In L. Corno & E. Anderman (Eds.), Handbook of Educational Psychology (Third Edition). New York: Routledge, Taylor, & Francis.
This Barron and Bell article provides a foundational overview for how “cross-setting learning” can equitably engage all youth across formal and informal educational contexts. The paper offers: 1) a review of research; 2) descriptions of supports and challenges to cross-setting learning, including learner interest and identity; and 3) suggestions for research and assessments that capture learning for underrepresented youth.