OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

Tinker Teams: Updated with Prototype Feedback

Tinker Teams is a debate club crossed with a maker class. Kids join a local team. Teammates help and critique each other with tinkering projects, and show their work at Tinker Meets. Kids learn hands-on building skills and team work while having fun.

Photo of Andy La Fond

Written by

Thanks to everyone who has contributed comments and suggestions to Tinker Teams. An extra special thanks goes out to Mandy and Dina for their extraordinary support. 

Here's an update for the end of the Refinement phase, summarizing the feedback received from young people, teachers, and other OpenIdeators.

BUILDING CREATIVE CONFIDENCE OVER TIME
Tinker Teams is intended to be an activity kids can participate in for months or years, beyond a short session, camp, or class. Tinker Teams can provide enough structure and excitement to get kids started, and enough freedom and support to allow their interest and skills to grow. The goal is to develop the creative "muscle memory" and mastery that comes with lots of practice, just like with debate, music, the arts, and sports. 

HOW TINKER TEAMS WORK
Please take a look at the video introduction to Tinker Teams and the experience map diagram for an overview. There are some additions and changes outlined below.

Kids, parents, and teachers organize Tinker Teams
  • Kids and their parents or teachers would organize teams in their neighborhood or community.
  • Kids and parents would likely learn about Tinker Teams via word of mouth and/or searching for maker or tinkering activities online.
  • Teams can be based in a school -- as an after-school activity -- or at a library, YMCA, or similar facility.
  • Guidelines and tips would be available to teams via a web site, email list, or printed handbook.
  • An online directory would keep track of Tinker Teams and facilitate Tinker Meets.
  • The directory and guidebook could probably be maintained by a small group of volunteers with little or no funding required.

Tinker Teams tinker together 1-2 times a week
  • Based on feedback from kids and parents, Tinker Teams would start with more defined and exciting challenges -- like building a go kart, model rockets, a giant kite, a working water cannon, etc.
  • Although the challenge may be defined, the solution open-ended. Tinkerers will be free to imagine, build, test, and improve on their own solutions.
  • Tinkerers are expected to make something, but it doesn't have to work perfectly (or at all!) or look pretty. 
  • Mentors will provide guidance on process and skills, and help if tinkerers get stuck. But they won't provide any "correct" answers.
  • As tinkerers get more experience, the challenges could become more self-directed and defined, with guidance from the adult mentor.
  • Providing constructive design critiques and feedback would be part of each session -- what do you like about someone else's project, what questions do you have, and how would you build on the idea?

TInker Meets bring teams together
  • Tinker Teams from different locations would meet up occasionally -- perhaps twice a year -- to share projects and progress
  • A directory or email list would be helpful to organize the Tinker Meets
  • Since there are like-minded maker groups forming everywhere, Tinker Teams can get together with any group, whether they call themselves a "Tinker Team" or not

TINKER TEAMS ADDRESS NEEDS OF YOUNG PEOPLE AND ADULTS
For young people, Tinker Teams will
  • Build technical and aesthetic skills: using simple to more-advanced tools, from screwdrivers to sewing machines to soldering irons to Arduino boards
  • Compliment the school curriculum with hands-on experience of math and science concepts
  • Fill in potential curriculum gaps, especially in arts and aesthetics

Tinker teams will also foster leadership and introduce professional skills for creative careers
  • Teaching and learning skills with other tinkerers
  • Giving and receiving critique and feedback
  • Organizing and leading work on a shared project
  • Defining a problem or project and setting goals to complete it

Parents and teachers will
  • Receive guidance and support from other Tinker Team mentors (so they don't have to figure everything out on their own)
  • Learn new skills alongside kids
  • Learn how to teach maker or innovation classes that could become part of the formal curriculum

FEEDBACK FROM YOUNG PEOPLE
The video introduction to Tinker Teams served as a sort of paper prototype for gathering feedback from young people. 

Five young people provided feedback -- ranging from grade school students to a high school senior:

Marion 
Cameron
Anna
Madeline
Christopher

Here's what we heard and learned -- with some verbatim quotes and some summaries:

What they liked

  • Thought the tinker team and space sounded cool
  • "I would like to get together with a bunch of kids (but mostly people that I know) and do something we all like to do together. Like improv, electronics, science or performance and art stuff."
  • "Like that we could put on shows with people who are experts, like Jenny."
  • "I like the tinkering name. I like building and making things."
  • Contests and fairs might stoke competitive spirits and get kids motivated.
  • "I like that it can prepare students for activities they might want to pursue in high school (like robotics or debate) to see what their interests are." 
  • "I also think it is cool that you thought to combine two very different activities like robotics/science olympiad and debate because those disciplines normally are not seen together."

What they would change

  • Making things can sound kind of boring, compared to more action-packed alternatives. Probably a specific and real design project will get kids motivated. It sounds more exciting to make a working water cannon than to "make things after school." 
    • "I don't like after school, maybe Saturdays are good."
    • "I don't think that a Tinker Team should consist of a junior high age student and an elementary school student. A nice mix might be to stick with the K-5th grade age range because by junior high, many schools already have Science Olympiad and other activities in place for students, whereas in elementary school, I think students would love to have something like this instead of just playing sports after school."

    Questions they had
    • "Who are the teachers? Can my mom be a teacher?"
    • "If my mom teaches, can I help with the project?"
    • "Where is it?" 
    • "How would schools handle the salaries of the mentor teachers who stay after with the students to work on these projects?"
    • "Is there a budget for the supplies the students would be able to afford? Who would pay for this or would the kids have to pay a fee to be a part of this? That might discourage some students from joining."

    Other suggestions

    • Access to some kind of building system, like lego, that would make it easy to construct things. 
    • "I want people my own age or older, no little kids who break my things. Like 1st grade and beyond."

    Some Key Takeaways
    • Experiment with a mix of exciting, pre-defined challenges and more self-guided tinkering to see what appeals best to kids
    • Keep the age range narrow for starters and/or have different activities for different levels
    • Keep an element of presenting, pitching, and providing feedback on projects
    • Validate the costs and funding for materials and tools 

    FEEDBACK FROM TEACHERS AND PARENTS
    We spoke with 4 teachers and parents, and invited others to provide feedback via a questionnaire.

    Here are some key thoughts they shared:

    • The challenges for a maker space or group are having a clear approach, some capable mentors/ teachers, enough free time for creative play/work of this kind, and a culture of trying things out.
    • Different school districts handle after-school activities differently. Some contract activities to for-profit companies. It's probably best to have a flexible approach that can work either within or outside of schools.
    • In pitching Tinker Teams to schools, it would be important to differentiate it from any existing programs that a school might have. A more open-ended tinkering approach instead of a strictly defined challenge is one possible way to differentiate.
    • Tinker Teams would work well regardless of whether the school is public, private, or charter. 
    • Depending on the school, a potential issue could be funding for supplies. If schools are competing with one another, it would be important to have equity in terms of resources.” 
    • It would be important to provide Tinker Team advisers with specific ideas on how to lead after-school workshops. If teachers/advisers are well-prepared to guide students, the program would have a good chance of being successful.
    • Tinker Teams can work for all age groups, as long as each age group is appropriately challenged. It might even be a cool for high school age Tinkerers to mentor middle and elementary school teams.”
    • Students love being competitive, and they would be excited for the prospect of competing with other schools. While kids are motivated by the pure glory of winning, they'd also be excited if there were tangible prizes.”
    • There are many similar groups and resources for makers that can guide and inspire Tinker Teams (it helps to stand on someone's shoulders):

    Odyssey of the Mind - http://www.odysseyofthemind.com/
    Fuse Studios -  www.fusestudio.net
    Destination Imagination -  www.destinationimagination.org  (very similar but with more structured challenges than Tinker Teams would have to start)
    The Planet in Mill Valley, CA -  http://www.kidsheadquarters.org/planet_main.htm
    Tinkering: Kids Learn by Making Stuff by Curt Gabrielson -  http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920028895.do


    HOW TINKER TEAMS CAN REACH A DIVERSE POPULATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE

    • Tinker Teams can be fully funded by the teams, or through grants and private donations. Teams will be available to all public, private, and charter schools nationwide without any costs to schools or other institutions.
    • Tinker Teams do not require computers or internet access. Guidelines, tips, challenges, and other information can be distributed in print format and by mail, if needed. All children should be able to participate regardless of geographic location and socio-economic background. 
    • Tinker Teams is not a traditional fine arts program with an emphasis on creating high-quality painting, drawing, dancing, music, etc. Young people do not need to see themselves as especially creative to make things with basic materials, and Tinker Teams will not expect projects to look pretty. 
    • Tinker Teams is team-oriented, enabling disabled young people to fully participate through suggestions and ideas. This combines with the fact that projects / assignments will not require the Internet to make Tinker Teams a truly all-inclusive program.
    • With projects involving teams of different sizes, young people who are introverted should feel comfortable in the smaller groups. They will also be nudged to try working in larger groups, helping them to learn to be at ease in different settings. 


    Original Submission - For Reference
    The Tinker Team competition would work much like debate teams or mock trials. Students, teacher, and parents could organize one or more teams -- probably at a school. The teams would train together, solving sample problems, to develop their collaboration, problem-solving, and tinkering skills. Competitions would pit teams from different schools against each other, with everyone working on solving the same problem. Depending on the challenge, there could be objective or subjective ways to judge each team.

    Tinker Teams could take advantage of the space available at schools, without requiring a curriculum change. By representing their schools, students on the team could get some recognition and recognition from teachers and peers, which would help reinforce their creative confidence. Plus, it could be a school activity students could use for college applications.

    *New* Refinement question: What will the future look like with your idea in it?

    Debate clubs, Model UN, science clubs, and similar activities have thrived because they help kids develop vital skills for adulthood and many professional careers -- such as research, teamwork, preparing and delivering arguments, and problem solving.

    Tinker Teams can do the same by nurturing skills in creativity, problem-framing, and problem-solving. Teams will encourage curiosity and ideation in tackling a problem. Tinkerers will gain hands-on skills in making prototypes, testing, and improving them. As much as possible, the Teams can be lead by students, with guidance and mentoring from faculty. That way, more experienced kids will share skills and learn to lead their teams.

    Tinker Teams are meant to provide an experience similar to innovation and invention classes, but with a lower level of commitment required of schools. The goal is to make it easy for students, parents, teachers, and administrators to organize and support Tinker Teams. That will enable teams to spread to many schools, wherever there is interest and energy.

    In a few years, Tinker Teams could involve thousands of kids from around the US and the world. In time, tens or hundreds of thousands of kids could participate. There are currently 200,000 young people participating in the Destination Imagination program and 400,000 participating in Model UN programs, according to UNAUSA.org. After 100 years, Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts have 2.3 million and 2.6 million members, respectively.

    If, in 10 years, Tinker Teams can foster the creative confidence of another quarter million kids, we could really change the world.

    In this challenge, we want to create ideas with young people, not for them. Outline how you’re planning to involve young people or other end-users (parents, teachers, etc) in designing, iterating or testing your idea during the Ideas phase.

    As we move forward with Tinker Teams, there is plenty more to learn.

    The most important step would be to set up a "beta" Tinker Team, probably in the Chicago area, with interested kids and start to experiment with different challenges and activities:

    What specific challenges will get kids excited and interested in joining?
    What types of challenges work best for weekly Team sessions?
    What's the right balance of structure vs. open-ended tinkering on an ongoing basis?
    What information and guidelines are going to be most helpful to set up more Teams?

    Building on learnings from the first "beta" team, we can prototype and test ways to get the word out, start additional teams, and organize Tinker Meets.

    It will be much like a startup company, with lots of testing and learning along the path to success.

    How might you envision your idea spreading across geographies or cultures so that it inspires young people around the world to cultivate their creative confidence?

    As noted above, Tinker Teams are designed so they require minimal funding beyond basic materials -- which can be provided by grants and/or sponsors. The low cost model would allow Tinker Teams to start in a diverse range of schools, communities, and countries.

    Guidelines and tips that are honed in the US can be translated and adapted for other languages and cultures. Materials can be distributed via the web, email, and even printed copies. Tools like Skype might enable international Tinker Meets and the exchange of best practices between mentors.

    The most important factor to spreading Tinker Teams will be finding the right mentors in new communities -- whether in the US or internationally. The personal and professional networks of teachers and mentors will play a key role.

    What skills, input or guidance would you like to receive from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

    The OpenIDEO community can move Tinker Teams beyond the refinement phase by helping establish beta teams, sharing learnings, and starting to build a network of teams and mentors.

    Evaluation results

    16 evaluations so far

    1. How well do you feel this idea could inspire young people to cultivate their creative confidence?

    Really well – feels like this idea would kickstart creative confidence in young people everywhere - 62.5%

    It's getting there – but it seems to need further work to really inspire creative confidence - 37.5%

    I don't think this idea would significantly inspire young people's creative confidence - 0%

    2. Does this idea have enough momentum behind it to successfully spread and scale to diverse groups of young people globally?

    Absolutely – it's inspiring, engaging and I'm sure young people everywhere would be excited to participate - 37.5%

    Maybe, but we'd need to figure out more details to really help this idea get adopted more widely - 62.5%

    Nope, I don't see this idea having global appeal for diverse audiences of young people - 0%

    3. Does this idea show potential for lasting impact on generations of young people and their creative confidence?

    This idea seems to have staying power and could impact young people for years to come - 43.8%

    I think there's potential for lasting impact but it's not totally clear what that would look like - 43.8%

    It feels like this idea is more of a short-term solution that may not last into the future - 12.5%

    4. Would this idea appeal to young people who are already creatively confident as well as those who are not?

    Absolutely – it would be appealling and accessible to young people of all creative levels and abilities - 25%

    Probably – but young people who don't consider themselves very creative might need a little extra support or coaching - 68.8%

    Not really – this idea is really best suited for young people who already see themselves as creatively confident - 6.3%

    5. Overall, how do you feel about this idea?

    It rocked my world - 37.5%

    I liked it but preferred others - 56.3%

    It didn't get me overly excited - 6.3%

    View more

    Attachments (4)

    tinker-teams-false-door-flyer-v1.pptx

    PPT version of the Tinker Teams prototype flyer

    tinker-team-prototyping-guide-v1-11-26-13.pdf

    Tinker Teams prototyping guide - please use and abuse it!

    tinker-teams-experience-map-v1-.pdf

    Sketch of the Tinker Teams experience - open for anyone to use to gather feedback on the idea

    tinker-teams-educators-focus-group-questionnaire.pdf

    Questionnaire for educators to provide feedback

    119 comments

    Join the conversation:

    Comment
    Photo of Hao Dinh
    Team

    Hi Andy, I referenced your idea in my Impact story! https://openideo.com/challenge/creative-confidence/impact/takes-a-community-to-educate-a-child

    Photo of Hao Dinh
    Team

    Andy, congrats on being selected as one of the winning ideas. Go Tinker Teams!

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Thanks so much, and thanks for your support and suggestions throughout the process. It's been fun working on the challenge, and I'm very, very honored to be chosen as one of the winning ideas.

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Hao, I read on your profile that you worked on a winning concept for a previous challenge. Any tips, suggestions, or examples on how to move forward with a concept?

    It's a bit ambiguous what happens next. I get the impression that, in most cases, it's up to the team that developed the concept to continue refining and realizing the idea.

    Photo of Hao Dinh
    Team

    Andy, I plan on piloting some of the ideas. I really like the Tinker Teams idea. Awesome mix of hands-on learning and collaboration. Post holidays, let's see how we can further develop your concept. Happy Holidays!

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Thanks, Hao. I look forward to talking further. Happy holidays to you as well.

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Hao, I'm sorry for losing touch for several weeks. I've been thinking again about how to make Tinker Teams a reality, and thought I'd see if you're still interested in some sort of a pilot. Either way, thanks again for your support.

    Photo of Hao Dinh
    Team

    Andy, let's make Tinker Teams a reality! I will send you an email to the yahoo email you provided in another post.

    Photo of Janet Tam
    Team

    Congratulation! awesome idea!

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Congratulations! Great idea with a hands-on approach to making things. It will be important to pick projects that can get quick results for the kids and especially good if it is something they can use themselves. Reuse and recycling can be an important part of the learning experience as well so we aren't buying lots of new materials for a project and then throwing the project away when we are done.

    Photo of Jamal Husbands
    Team

    Congratulations. This concept is a really good one. Great way for kids in a community to confidently interact with each other and be creative.

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Congratulations, Andy! I am so excited for you. Let me know when you're ready to move forward; I'm here to help!

    Congratulations, again!

    Photo of Michelle Weiler
    Team

    Awesome idea. Congratulations!

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Thanks, Michelle!

    Photo of Michelle Weiler
    Team

    I look forward to signing my daughter up to join a Tinker Team or maybe even start one up myself!

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    I would love it if you started a Team! I'm not sure yet how the idea is going to move forward, but I know it's going to need a lot of support. So let's keep in touch. Thanks!

    Photo of Michelle Weiler
    Team

    Definitely, Andy!

    Photo of belen rodriguez lorente
    Team

    it´s a good way to show kids how to use different basic tools and materials, and to be familiar with that stuff; They can become more interested in those things and improve their creativity from an early age.
    I would create a webpage, an online platform where you could see what other teams are creating, so you can share ideas, insights, feedback...

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Thanks for the suggestion!

    Photo of Taz Fear
    Team

    Wicked idea, love it! Tinker TEAMS!

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Thanks, Taz.

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Fantastic Job Andy! Rooting for you...

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Thanks!

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Hi Andy,

    Congrats on the fantastic submission!

    I just wanted to let you know that I created a document, which could be called Volume I, regarding grants. I've been having a difficult time posting it/uploading the google doc but I do have a link on my profile page for: "Grant Writing - Advice from the Trenches".

    You should be able to access the link on my profile though I believe it brings you to my google drive. . .but it's there for you to peruse! Hopefully, it will help you secure some funding for your awesome program!

    Best,
    Mandy

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Thanks, Mandy. And thanks again for all your thoughts, suggestions, and support throughout the process!

    By the way, I managed to upload and link to the pdf of the educators questionnaire. Thanks for writing and sending it.

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Andy, it was - and still is - an absolute pleasure collaborating with you. And thank you; it's nice to hear my input was appreciated. And now the count down beings! hahaha! Also:

    New link to the "Grant Writing - Advice from the Trenches" document! This one should work, fingers crossed:

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_wsTrSxUjAYdEYwOGZwbDAwZ2s/edit

    Best,
    Mandy

    Photo of Imrat Singh Matharoo
    Team

    This is a great idea! I like the whole idea from the huge amount of creative freedom they have when building or drawing something from everyday materials.
    And It being a group activity with people in the local community, i especially like the fact that they would be improving their problem solving, and also developing their collaboration skills.

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Hi Andy, great idea! I love the concept of bringing different people together to build something tangible. Have you thought of taking this virtual? For example, getting a virtual team together to build a website or database? This might allow you to make this idea even more far reaching. This could also allow people from all over the world together, thus potentially creating an international community.

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    I love this idea. I think there is a lot of importance in encouraging design and from things like household objects, not just traditional building sets.

    I think you should structure the challenges in a very open-ended format. Propose a topic or a problem, provide a set of materials and that is really all that is necessary, unless you want to specifically guide to a solution.

    What types of materials and tools did you have in mind, traditional craft materials or basically anything the you can find?

    Overall, great idea!

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Thanks for your comment.

    The materials would probably vary, depending on the type of challenge. The intention is for most, if not all, of the materials to be common household items or tools. Plus some components like electric motors that are easy to come by. Even parts with Arduino boards or RaspberryPi would be possible.

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Love this idea!

    I agree with Alina below me in that the kids should be given free range to give a solution to a topic or problem. As for the materials given to the students, it really depends on the topic at hand and the age range of who is participating.

    I'll be sure to share this prototype with my friends!

    Thanks!

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Thanks much for your comment.

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    I definitely support this idea. I love allowing children to express their creativity while using materials they see in their regular environments. The more open-ended the solution, the more innovative it will allow the children to be. Tinker Teams seems like a great way to encourage collaboration as well as improve children's practical motor-skills.

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Thanks for your comment and the support!

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Hi Andy,

    I just wanted to let you know that the Tinker Teams "Educators' Focus Group Questionnaire" went postal (via email) yesterday. Once I receive them back I will put together a "findings" document.

    Enjoy your Saturday!
    Mandy

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    I'd be more than happy to take a look at it, Andy. Send it my way and I'll forward it to Dina, as well.

    Best,
    Mandy

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Thanks, Mandy.

    I worked on an outline for the final update this morning. If you'd like to take a look and send any suggestions, I'd appreciate it. I want to make sure I cover the important aspects of the idea and the challenge criteria.

    It will probably be easiest to email to you. I don't think I have Dina's email, but please feel free to forward it to her.

    Andy

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Email received and forwarded to Dina, Andy!

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Hi Andy,

    I came across this as I was putting together Tinker Teams' Educator Focus Group Questionnaire, and thinking of funding. It's not 'spot-on' but it brought to mind your question of whether projects should be designed to have a social impact or address social issues.

    http://www.michaels.com/Charities/charities,default,pg.html

    What caught my eye was Michaels' charity partners. Again, not spot-on but perhaps somewhat relevant. (Michaels only funds national programs but I was checking out their site to see if they'd be potential supporters by providing art supplies - and they might. I just need to put them on the list of who to contact for funding.)

    Best,
    Mandy

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Hi Andy,
    Love the idea of having Tinkering Teams. Speaking from the perspective of public K-12 schools, I am wondering how this will fit in in the overall school single plan (SSP) and the incentives for all stakeholders: students (extra credit, college admission), teachers (stipend), school admin and boards (common core, etc...)

    When you go prototyping you may consider different angles: private schools, charters, but the great majority continue to be public schools which are having to deal with underperformance issues and now the new "Common Core" rolling out (which is bringing more funds$$$ to update technologies and curriculum).

    Working with a diverse student population who are English Limited is also on the rise and design thinking strategies like this are great not only to practice their English skills but to give them a platform to collaborate beyond their language backgrounds.

    Will be rooting for your idea....Good Luck!

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Bea,

    Thank you very much for your comment. I would appreciate any further insight you can provide into SSP, common core, and the workings of public schools. And I'd welcome any help you can provide in refining the idea to work within the constraints that public schools face.

    My hope is that we can make Tinker Teams happen with minimal additional resources required from schools, so it's not something seen just in private or well-funded schools. Also, aligning Tinker Teams with common public school priorities, like STEM education, seems like a good way to build support.

    I appreciate your input, and I hope together we can make this idea much better and more feasible.

    Photo of Dina Gold
    Team

    Hi guys! Congrats again on continuing the pursuit of this great concept. From my own experience, the Debate Team and Mock Trials were after-school electives. But could this be a curriculum add-on that applies to (art would be obvious!) science or math, even history courses?! I guess to your points above regarding SSP, Common Core, etc., what's a trend in most schools around the world and that is easily applicable no matter where you are?

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Hi Dina, I agree with you about this curriculum applying across multiple courses. For instance, when studying the War of Independence in history, a project could be to have the Tinker Teams design a flag for both the Americans and the British. Based on what they've learned about the time period, who was President, King, etc. could bring about some fantastic ideas from young people.

    Also, by applying Tinker Teams across curriculum it would be easier to segue into schools as a new 'class' doesn't need to be created (which would probably be impossible in the public school system - at least in the early years of Tinker Team).

    Having Tinker Teams implemented throughout different study courses would also have the young people working in different teams if their school is set up in periods/different classrooms. This would bolster the team-building component of Tinker Teams by having young people team up with different young people on a daily, weekly, and/or monthly basis.

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Dina, Mandy -

    Thanks to both of you for your comments. There are several details for Tinker Teams that we can iron out during refinement.

    After-school or during class: I originally thought Tinker Teams would be an after-school activity, similar to debate teams. But that could change. How can we figure out what format will be easiest for most schools to implement?

    Competitive or non-competitive or both: Mandy, you brought up a good point earlier that losing a competition could bruise a kid's creative confidence. On the other hand, competition can be motivating and exciting for kids. Of course, there could be some combination of competition and non-competitive exhibitions. This is a point where we can get feedback from kids on what type of Tinker Team they'd find most appealing.

    Type of content of challenges: The suggestion of having challenges related to history or art is interesting, and I agree that hands-on making is a great way or kids to learn many subjects. The intention of Tinker Teams is to have teams tackle tough challenges. One question is whether those are made-up challenges (like the classic egg-drop or balsa wood bridge) or something real-world and related to kids (for instance, making bicycle riders more visible to drivers). Maybe there are challenges to address social issues, like helping more kids learn to read. Maybe Teams would have some input into the challenges they take on.

    Let's figure out how to prototype the idea and get feedback from kids, teachers, or parents to help answer these issues. Any suggestions and ideas for prototyping would be super helpful.

    Also, I'm sure there are other issues to address, so please continue to bring up different points-of-view and questions. The feedback and input is much appreciated!

    Andy

    Photo of Meena Kadri
    Team

    Great discussion, guys! Andy – we'd also recommend you chat about some of the topics you've highlighted in the comment above with folks in your local community (students, teachers, parents, etc) to gather their insights, perspectives and suggestions. This is sure to enrich the refinement of this idea even further.

    Photo of Meena Kadri
    Team

    Oh – and here's a #ProTip for you all who haven't done it already: update your OpenIDEO profile so folks can dig who they're collaborating with. Think skills, experience, passions & wit!

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Great advice, Meena. For those of you who haven't read my profile, I recently completed it and welcome you all to take a glance at it!

    Photo of Dina Gold
    Team

    Hey guys! I think it would be great to go out into the field and get real insight from teachers & administrators. I know a few teachers that I can present this idea to and see what they say. I also have to read through where your idea is out now since you updated it today! But will present my findings in the coming days and we can compare/contrast.

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Hi Dina! Do you think the best approach is to go out and connect to teachers/educators separately, or how do you feel about presenting a document that presents the idea and asks specific questions?

    I'd create the document (and make it look inviting and engaging), anyone can review/contribute it, Andy would approve it, and then we would email it to our connections in the field Education and they'd respond via email. Thoughts?

    Photo of Dina Gold
    Team

    Hey Mandy! Just reading your latest response and I love the questions you've listed. I'm going to reach out informally to a teacher friend and get her initial thoughts... but I think something that details what the afterschool program is, who is the intended target audience, and maybe how it compares to existing programs can be a great guide!

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Hi Dina! I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. I'm glad you like the idea of a guide. It is my intention to have it completed by EOD tomorrow. My email is: writemandy@aol.com. I'd love to discuss this guide in deeper detail directly with you, if that works for you.

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    I just wanted to let the team, and all others, know that I posted a note on my Facebook page directed to all of my friends in the field of Education. I (very) briefly described the purpose of this challenge and asked if they'd like to participate in the Educators Focus Group Questionnaire I'm putting together. I also let them know I'd be sending the document directly to them via email. My fingers are crossed for a good response! I will keep you all updated as to how my participation numbers will be and to the status of the questionnaire.

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    No thanks necessary, Andy. I'm just happy to be able to make some contributions to your great program. And, between the two of us, it seems like we're covering all of the bases as to feedback. All good stuff!1

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Thanks, Mandy, for moving forward with it. Looking forward to the responses you get.

    Now that the holiday is over, I'm working on more ways we can get feedback from teachers and kids.

    Photo of Dina Gold
    Team

    Amazing Mandy! Should I email you for the link to the Facebook Page or is that listed in your profile (I don't see it)? Also, where shall we upload our findings? I just received preliminary feedback from a teacher that I'd love to share!

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    I'd love to hear what your teacher has to say, Dina! I'm slowly starting to receive 'buy-in' from my educator friends on Facebook. I'm thinking I'd like to put together one cohesive document; could you contact me via my home email: writemandy@aol.com. This way we can discuss the best way to showcase our findings, which we could email to Andy and have him upload so that the entire OpenIDEO community can view how we're approaching what seems to be a 'hot topic' for most finalist. Thoughts?

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Hey Mandy, Dina -

    How are things going with the Facebook page and gathering feedback from your educator friends? If you have anything to share, I'd love to see it.

    You'll probably see the video demo I uploaded, in an effort to enable some feedback from kids via email. I think the demo could also be used with teacher or educators. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. I can make some tweaks to the voiceover or content if needed.

    Thanks again for your help and support!

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Hey Andy,

    Dina and I have communicated via email and she provided me with great quotes from her one-on-one interview with a teacher. I'm in the process of putting together the "Educator Focus Group Questionnaire" which I will email (hopefully by day's end) to the educators I've successfully recruited on Facebook.

    I'm not doing a FB page; I'm keeping the questionnaire in a simple Word document as many educators I know aren't pros with Acrobat or InDesign or even Excel and want to make it as simple to complete as possible to get the best results.

    The great news is that between Dina & myself, our educators represent different parts of the country so we'll get a 'national' view of the program as opposed to just input from educators in one city/town, and the educators aren't just K-12 teachers; I have a college professor and am working on contacting a woman I know who sets up Charter schools in different cities across the country.

    The questionnaire will most certainly provide links to this page, as well as OpenIDEO and all of your other link. I am going to copy and paste your overview as there isn't any reason to reinvent the wheel.

    One question to you: In which city or community are you thinking of launching Tinker Teams as a pilot program? Or are you open to ideas or suggestions regarding pilot program locale? (This would affect how I can best help you secure grants as funding is on my proverbial hit list for Tinker Teams!)

    Best,
    Mandy

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Hey Mandy,

    That all sounds great, and thanks for the update. I'm looking forward to reading the feedback from the educators you and Dina have contacted.

    Regarding your question: I would be open to starting Tinker Teams anywhere. By default, I would probably try first in Evanston, where I live, simply because it's convenient and close to home. But I'd completely support you, or anyone, who wants to launch Tinker Teams in another community.

    Thanks!

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Hi again, Andy - I didn't realize we were neighbors! I'm in Chicago so maybe Chi-town would be a good pilot program location. Bigger cities tend to have larger funding pools and, as we both know, the Chicago Public School System is running on a skeletal budget and it may be very open to having a fully-funded after school program given to it in beautiful gift-wrapped package!

    If Evanston is your first choice, I'm right here and willing to help you launch it there. Having just moved to Illinois I am not all that familiar with Evanston though I have been there several times. . .but I'm thinking from a grant writer's point of view. I am putting together a Grant Guideline Booklet for another team that I will share with all as funding seems to be a priority for many of the teams. I'll do my best to identify potential funders in the Chicagoland area for Tinker Teams. (Why can't there be 36 hours in a day?!!?!)

    On another note, I just recruited another Educator - a male! I'm excited about this as until a few minutes ago all of our focus group participants were female. The more diverse the perspectives and input the better, in this woman's opinion.

    Best,
    Mandy

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Hey Mandy,

    Welcome to winter in Chicago, if you've just recently moved.

    I'd be fine with either CPS or Evanston.

    As it turns out, I spoke today with a neighbor who is a teacher at New Trier High School. He told me that Evanston has contracted out its after-school activities to a for-profit company. He and his wife have had some of their kids in those programs, but have not been happy with them. They are not sponsored by teachers or consistently staffed by the best mentors. Sometimes the after-school experience that's actually delivered falls short of what's promised.

    I'm not sure how after-school programs are managed by CPS. I would think that one or a couple of neighborhood schools would be the best place to start, but I'm not sure how autonomous they are in providing activities. I'm sure between the two of us and our networks of friends, we could figure out what's possible locally.

    Learning about how Evanston runs activities makes me think that Tinker Teams may need to live outside of schools, at least as an option. (Hello, YMCA.) Then Teams could be organized and facilitated by interested parents (much like Girl or Boy Scouts) without relying on school staff or funding.

    At the same time, I've been thinking that grants or corporate sponsors (Home Depot, perhaps?) would be potential sources for tools and materials, especially for neighborhoods or communities with limited means.

    As you said, there needs to be 36 hours in the day. I just hope we can compile some feedback from both teachers and kids prior to the deadline for refinement. And I'd like to provide some more thoughts on various aspects of Tinker Teams -- incorporating your suggestions and some of my own thoughts.

    Anyways, thanks again for all the input and ideas.

    Andy

    Photo of Meena Kadri
    Team

    Awesome idea on sharing a Grant Guideline Booklet, Mandy! Super helpful – especially as we're keen for folks to feel empowered to move their own ideas forward beyond our challenge. And we're right there with you on the value of diverse perspectives :^)

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Thanks for the winter welcome, Andy. So far, so warm! Being from NYC, and having completed my undergraduate work at Syracuse University, I think I'll make it through the season! But one never does know. . .I may not leave my apartment in February. Ha!

    A few things real quick:

    1) You're thinking along the right lines with regards to funding (i.e. Home Depot for a after-school 'building' program. We just need to research what Home Depot's areas of giving are - and where they choose to give. [They may be a better sponsor than big funder]

    This is easy and quick to do; I just hope we're in-line with their - and all other potential funders - funding year/deadlines for grants and our targeted grant writing start date.

    It's critically important to know exactly where the funding will go. Teachers? Space rental? Supplies? But again, more about funding later.

    2) One of the questions I'm going to ask educators is their thoughts as to the best way to implement Tinker Teams. Schools? YMCAs? Boys & Girls Club? Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts? Other? Hopefully, we'll get some wise guidance and valuable input in this area as clearly it's not our area of expertise.

    3) We'll get feedback from teachers in the next few days. You have my word. I'll ready to pull an all-nighter to get the questionnaire done and sent out via email tomorrow.

    Maybe we should talk in the next 48 hours re: incorporating suggestions & brainstorming thoughts? My email: writemandy@aol.com. Shoot me a note and I'll send you my phone number.

    Have a great night. . .I'm back to the questionnaire.

    ~ Mandy

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Thanks, Meena, for the supportive words. You are appreciated.

    You stated that OpenIDEO is keen on empowering people to move forward beyond the challenge. Therefore, must this document be posted in the Refinement phase? I am doing a specific, targeted funding document for one of the virtual teams I'm on that will be posted in this phase, but as for the Grant Guideline Booklet is it mandatory to post it in this phase?

    I'd really appreciate your input and guidance regarding this; I'm new this community and still learning the ropes!

    Thanks,
    Mandy

    Photo of Meena Kadri
    Team

    From what I can gather from what you've said, Mandy… the Grant Guideline Booklet would be most useful for grant applicants. Seems that could be shared at any stage (even beyond our challenge timeline) Though of course we imagine many other OpenIDEATORS would also love to see this – and folks are most likely to be checking out posts during our Refinement & Evaluation phases. Hope that helps.

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Thanks again, Meena. I didn't intend to write a confusing post but it's 3:30am and I'm getting a little tired. Apologies!

    I am going to do my best to post in the Refinement Phase but because many OpenIDEATORS will, most likely, begin seriously researching funding opportunities and start sending out grants after this phase, posting it during Evaluation is a viable alternative as all interested Ideators will have access to it. And that's my goal: to provide a valuable resource to help as many programs come to fruition as possible.

    Best,
    Mandy

    Photo of Meena Kadri
    Team

    Sounds great, Mandy. Rest up, now :^)

    Photo of Meena Kadri
    Team

    Nice one on your new video, Andy. And I've used my Community Manager super powers to add a link to your prototyping PDF directly to where you mention it towards the beginning of your post. We're excited at the possibility of awesome insights from folks who might give some part of this a try.

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Thanks, Meena.

    BTW, what is the actual date and time for the close of the refinement phase? I expect I'll be cramming up until the final hour.

    Photo of Meena Kadri
    Team

    You'll be able to see an hourly countdown for the last 48 hours in the box in the left column (which currently says 4 days let for Refinement)

    Photo of Hao Dinh
    Team

    Andy, check it out, your concept is highlighted in this week's Field Note.

    http://www.openideo.com/fieldnotes/openideo-team-notes/creative-confidence-challenge-community-champion-update-11/

    Photo of Hao Dinh
    Team

    Andy, I did a prototype of the Electronster idea. During the process, I was thinking it would be a good idea to have a template / guideline that quickly lets people know how to prototype an idea. I've uploaded the template/guideline I used for the Electronster idea (very simple). Thought is people can download the guideline (which tells them what/how to prototype your idea) and prototype. Hopefully helpful.

    Guideline I used: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/100096797/Prototype%20Template%20HD.pdf

    Guideline Template others can use: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/100096797/Prototype%20Template%20v1.pdf

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Hao,

    Thanks for the template. I posted my latest update before I saw the link. Tomorrow I'll think about adding another prototype using the template.

    Photo of Meena Kadri
    Team

    And we were super excited to see this clip on how Hao's simple prototype went with his nephew: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSvoGm7ohqM&feature=youtu.be It's great to see how trying things out, even a small part of a large idea, can lead to deep insights which can help grown an idea. And how anyone in our community might get involved from their local context and contribute to our global challenge. Nice one!

    Photo of Hao Dinh
    Team

    Andy, I plan to provide another Field Note update on all the Refinement ideas by Sunday (Dec 1). Let me know by Saturday 6 pm EST USA if there is anything you want me to highlight to help progress your concept. Any prototypes completed, any assistance needed, any breakthroughs or anything you want to highlight. You can provide me video or text. I will consolidate. Thanks in advance.

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Hi Hao,

    I've taken a few days off because of Thanksgiving. Here are a couple of updates based on activity prior to the holiday:

    1) Tinker Teams have evolved a bit from the original concept, based on suggestions from the community and feedback from educators. Tinker Teams are now intended to be environments where students can tinker, collaborate, and learn about a wide variety of technical and artistic topics. Students can define what problems are challenge they want to work on, rather than having challenges defined in a more centralized way. "Competitions" will be opportunities for Teams from different schools to share their work and get feedback and recognition from their peers.

    2) We could use help prototyping and further refining Tinker Teams in the time remaining.

    - An outline for a lightweight prototype is available as part of the concept description for anyone in the community to use.

    - Our priority is prototyping and feedback feedback from kids, but we'd also appreciate input from teachers and educators on how Tinker Teams can best fit within different types of schools.

    Any help, support, and suggestions from the OpenIDEO community would be welcome and much appreciated!

    Thanks.

    Photo of Hao Dinh
    Team

    Looks good! Thanks Hao

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Hi Andy. A few thoughts I've had about Tinker Teams (and I've been thinking about it quit a bit!):

    1) Collaboration Skill Building:
    Consider having different projects require different sized teams. This way young people will get comfortable and/or experience working in intimate teams (2-3 people) as well as large teams (15-20). At first, the shy ones may find themselves out of their comfort zone in a large team while those who desire lots of attention may not enjoy working with only one or two others. But by having varied team sizes, young people will learn how to interact in small, medium, and large groups and, in turn, build collaboration skills in varied environments.

    2) Creativity Skill Building:
    Are you intending to include projects that encompass all of the arts - design, writing, music, fine arts, dance, drama, etc? Or a mix of the arts, such as project that asks the teams decide who will make musical instruments and who will dance to the music that is created? (larger group project). Or have the teams act out a scene from a play - or write a scene - and create their costumes? Endless ideas in this area!

    3) Creativity Skill Building:
    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I love this idea because Tinker Teams doesn't require a computer; it is accessible to young people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Along those lines, what about having all the projects use found objects or objects that can be found at home? Nothing bought = abundance of creative thinking.

    Finally, have you spoke with any other team members about funding and/or working toward writing an early draft (or PPT presentation) of Tinker Teams? It may be time to start funneling thoughts, bouncing more ideas off of each other, and, well, refining the idea. Once Tinker Teams gets closer to be refined and defined, I am confident funding can be obtained through grants.

    To secure grants means you'll need to think about whether you want to launch a pilot program in one city/school district or do you want to unveil Tinker Teams in several cities/school districts? And are you still thinking this an after-school program or do you see it being integrated into classroom curriculum? I think all are do-able scenarios as long as art-philanthropic cities are selected. Inner city school districts may be very open to classroom integration but I defer to the educators on the team regarding this; and it would be wise to reach out to school administrators, school boards, etc. to learn more.

    Thoughts Andy? Team?

    Apologies for the really long post!

    Best,
    Ma

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Hey Mandy,

    Thanks for your post. I'm beat and need to get to bed, so I'll read through it tomorrow. Thanks again!

    Andy

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Hey Mandy,

    I had time tonight to sit down and read through your post. Thanks again for the comments. Here are my thoughts:

    1) Great point. My assumption was that most teams would be 4-6 students, but accommodating smaller or larger teams totally makes sense.

    2) Currently I'm leaning towards a more freeform format, so teams could work on projects that are more technical, more artistic, or all of the above. Each team would decide on and articulate the problem(s) they want to solve. I think maybe the one requirement would be some sort of artifact, product, or solution. I'm planning to post an update with more on this, either tonight or tomorrow.

    3) Totally agree. Tinker Teams should not require a computer or Internet access. Although, obviously, teams can choose to use or develop technology. Using found, recycled, reused, and reclaimed materials would be encouraged. Perhaps there would be some recommended tools and supplies to help teams get started. Either teams could source the materials on their own, or perhaps a sponsor could provide the basics.

    After-school vs. class: For starters, I definitely see Tinker Teams as an after-school activity. That would seem to keep the resource commitment and the standards for "success" low. Plus, there's no need for grades. Failure is taken out of the equation and kids can let their creativity flow.

    Draft / prototype: Yes, I definitely want to make this happen. If you (or anyone) would be willing to help with part, that would be awesome.

    I see four potential prototypes or deliverables, but we'll probably have to prioritize for sake of time:

    a) The pitch to students: Why get involved, what you do, and what's in it for them

    b) The pitch to administrators / teachers to approve the team as an after-school activity and find a faculty advisor

    c) The guide and tool set for Tinker Teams: Helping students and their advisors get their team started and keep it going (maybe something similar to or inspired by the IDEO Design Thinking for Educators Toolkit)

    d) The Tinker "Tournament" (could use some naming help) format that brings Teams together to share work and get feedback from peers.

    I'd like to test and get feedback from students and teachers for sure. Again, anyone is welcome (please!) to jump in and help.

    Thanks for the encouragement and the great suggestions!

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    You rock, Andy!

    Thanks for taking the time to respond to my lengthy post. Your comments, in tandem with your updated concept, is really starting to bring Tinker Teams together for me. I agree that your four desired deliverables would be ideal to have but I feel (and please don't shoot the messenger) that an evaluation & branding document needs to be developed first. This would be the results of feedback from educators/administrators ASAP. I would be happy to put this document together to email to as many teachers, educators and administrators I know, as well as to reach out to some I don't. I'd suggest having a logo designed first. I could include your new concept verbiage and then have a list (as concise as possible) for the educators. Questions that come to mind - and bear with me, I'm thinking/writing out loud right - are:

    1) What age group do you see this most appropriate for?
    2) Does the name capture your attention? If not, please explain (and we welcome ideas!).
    3) Will the name appeal to your recommended targeted audience? If not, please explain (and we welcome ideas!).
    4) Will the logo appeal to your recommended targeted audience? If not, please explain (and we welcome ideas!).
    5) How would you go about getting students involved?
    6) What would motivate students to get involved?
    7) What is the best route to get a school/school district to buy-in?
    8) What are your high level thoughts of the Tinker Teams program?

    Etc, etc. etc. I have put together branding discovery presentations and developed/led focus groups in the past and I'd be happy to apply what I know to Tinker Teams - but you're right in your post: time is limited. We'd have to move quickly on this.

    Let me know what you think; I am going to be recommending a similar document to my other virtual team. Ideally I think it would be best to send one email with multiple attachments to the educators as opposed to flooding inboxes.

    If you agree, it'd be great to have team and the entire OpenIDEO community provide input regarding questions. And, being that Tinker Teams is your baby, the document would be sent upon receiving your final approval, incorporating your edits, making your deletion/additions, and all that good stuff.

    ~ Mandy

    Photo of Meena Kadri
    Team

    Exciting discussions here, guys. A couple of thoughts from my end… love the suggestion of both smaller & larger groups on different projects. When I taught at design school, I often recommended that students reflect on whether they preferred to work on smaller or larger teams as they experienced different projects across their degree. I'd seen a lot of students falter as they entered the workforce as they'd never reflected on this – and so someone who, it seemed clear to me, worked better in intimate groups would floundered at a large advertising agency, etc. By encouraging students to reflect on their favoured working styles, creative confidence can be boosted and relevant leanings pursued. Doesn't feel like Tinker Team needs to be coaching students on eventual professional pursuits – but I do think that having variable group size is a good start at acknowledging that folks may gain confidence in different configurations and providing avenues for them to explore that.

    Regarding documents for educators, etc. Seems like this could be a relevant to pursue at some stage but it seems an earlier step would be some kind of lightweight prototype with real end users (kids). Prototypes allow us to test some of our assumptions on an idea and make iterations based on what we learn, before racing into developing elements like financials, marketing, etc. It's a important step in human-centered design. Here's an example of something that started being prototyped during our Ideas phase: http://www.openideo.com/open/creative-confidence/ideas/the-electronster/ Andy, or others – does anyone have plans to try some part of this idea out with a small bunch of kids to see what you might learn towards refining it? Exciting possibilities!

    Photo of Meena Kadri
    Team

    I guess another approach might be to have branding discovery happening concurrently. My main point is that some prototyping with potential end users is an important step :^)

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Thank you so much, Meena, for your fantastic input. I like the idea of a 'lightweight prototype' for young people preceding a document targeting educators. If time permits, it may be nice to do both, but your point that the prototype comes first is much appreciated.

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Hey all,

    I agree that prototyping with kids will be super helpful and valuable.

    To that end, Hao shared a simple framework for prototyping last night that I'd like to adopt for Tinker Teams - https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/100096797/Prototype%20Template%20HD.pdf

    Here's what I have in mind (I'll post this up top as well). If you have the opportunity to prototype along these lines over the next few days and post the results, please go ahead. I'm going to try to wrangle some neighborhood kids after Thanksgiving.

    Idea Name:
    Tinker Teams

    Idea Contact:
    Andy

    People Needed:
    • 2 minimum, 4-6 is probably ideal
    • Kids could probably be age 4-12 (ish), with the materials and complexity adjusted for age

    Prototype Process:
    • Use assorted household items to build a drum or set of drums (and/or other instruments)
    • Experiment with making different sounds and rhythms
    • Record some music using a phone or device (if available)
    • Have kids talk about what they like about each of their creations or music, and what they learned through the process

    Prototype Material Needed:
    • Plastic or paper cups, plastic wrap, pencils or chopsticks, wood or plastic balls, beads -- whatever is handy
    • Tools: scissors, glue, tape, rubber bands

    Time for Prototype:
    30-60 minutes

    Some potential learnings from the prototype:
    • How structured or open-ended the tinkering activity needs to be?
    • How does having two or more teams (if there are enough kids) tinkering on the activity affect the experience?

    Reference:
    The drum set idea came from an excerpt of the book that Avi posted. You can take a look at how the activity is set up in the book - http://cdn.oreillystatic.com/oreilly/booksamplers/9781449361013_sampler.pdf

    Tinker with the prototype:
    This is guide, not a straightjacket, so feel free to adapt the basic ideas based on the kids and circumstances.

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    That said, feedback from teachers will also be helpful.

    Mandy and Dina, if you know some teachers and would like to share the idea with them, please go ahead.

    Mandy, I think your questions are a good place to start. My one suggestion is to focus more on what will get teachers and students interested, and less on the naming and identity aspects that can be figured out later.

    Feel free to do a short write up or concept statement based on what's been discussed already, if that will help the discussion.

    Don't feel obligated to pass everything by me first. This is a group effort and I don't want to be a bottleneck. Plus, I'm going to have family in town for the next few days and will have limited time to work on the challenge.

    Thanks!

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Great feedback, Andy, regarding what aspects of the program to focus on when sharing the idea with teachers. I'll take it and run with it!

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Thanks!

    Photo of Meena Kadri
    Team

    We're excited about your fun, lightweight prototype, Andy! Looking forward to hearing how things go.

    Photo of Meena Kadri
    Team

    And way to go on updating your post title to help folks dig how they might jump in & help you out :^)

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Hi Andy, I just joined the OpenIDEO community but wanted to congratulate on being shortlisted. What appeals to me about Tinker Teams is that you have young people working collaboratively but I especially appreciate that it doesn't require computers, that it's truly a hands-on approach to instilling creative confidence. Also, by eliminating the need for computers, Tinker Teams flattens the the proverbial playing field; all young people, from the extremely wealthy to the those who are impoverished, come to Tinker Teams with the same tools: their minds and hands. Congrats again on being shortlisted!

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Hi Mandy,

    Thanks much for your comment. And I'd appreciate any help, suggestions, and ideas you're willing to lend during Refinement to make the idea better.

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    No thanks necessary, Andy! I will certainly add any and all suggestions I feel would enhance and refine Tinker Teams.

    Photo of Avi Solomon
    Team

    Textbook for this concept?:
    http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920028895.do

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Hey Avi,

    Thanks for the link. The book looks like a great resource. Have you read or used it at all?

    Photo of Avi Solomon
    Team

    Yes Andy, have read it and tested a project with my son. The content is excellent but the print version of the book does not have color photos:(

    Photo of john regan
    Team

    hey andy i love the idea of tinker teams sort of like a fab lab for kids? i just in regards to the task setting, could you release a range of tasks spanning the different subjects? maybe this would help schools teach general topics in a few subjects? this could make your idea easier to adopt within the general teaching schedule

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Andy, I really like how Tinker Teams is evolving. The idea of focusing on a long-term project that has social relevance is exceptional.

    Photo of Hao Dinh
    Team

    Andy, your concept is highlighted in this week's Field Note

    http://www.openideo.com/fieldnotes/openideo-team-notes/creative-confidence-challenge-community-champion-update-10/

    Photo of Daniel Martinez da Cruz
    Team

    hey there great idea! do you think we could colab a bit?

     heres my idea if youd like to take a look?

    http://www.openideo.com/open/creative-confidence/ideas/the-5-senses-project/

    Photo of Meena Kadri
    Team

    Nice one for reaching out, Daniel! I liked your 5 senses project and can see opportunities for complimenting Tinker Teams. The OpenIDEO Team are always excited about the potential for collaboration across our community – and we hope that some elements of your idea might be considered for cross-pollination into this one.

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Hey Daniel,

    Absolutely I would appreciate the collaboration and help. Your 5 senses project had some fun ideas around creating a design challenges for kids. Want to think on that and send some suggestions? Any thoughts or ideas would be welcome. Thanks.

    Photo of Hao Dinh
    Team

    Andy, my name is Hao Dinh, the Challenge Community Champion. Congrats on being shortlisted. So many good ideas thus I want to make it easy for folks to quickly educate themselves on the ideas so they can focus on helping refine the concepts.

    Can you provide me an elevator speech of your idea, maximum 10 seconds audio/video. Or you can reply to my post with text. I plan to consolidate the elevator speeches into one Field Note. (Field Notes are weekly challenge updates)

    My thought is to provide you an opportunity to hype up your concept, ask for whatever assistance you need or provide suggestions on how to prototype your idea.

    Much appreciated if I can get your elevator speech by Friday (November 22) 11 pm EST USA.

    Thank you in advance,
    Hao

    Photo of Hao Dinh
    Team

    Sorry Andy, I meant 30 seconds not 10 seconds

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Hao,

    Thanks much. I'll work on the pitch and send you something tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it.

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Hi Hao.

    I posted my video to YouTube at http://youtu.be/ZIhUDMKKalM

    I hope 33 seconds is okay. It was hard to get it down to close to 30 seconds.

    If you'd like the video file, please reply to amlafond@yahoo.com and I'll post the file.

    Thanks.

    Andy

    Photo of Hao Dinh
    Team

    Awesome video thanks Andy!

    Photo of Meena Kadri
    Team

    And Andy – we'd also recommend you post this video to your actual post. (Tip: as your thinking around this idea grows, you can update your post at any time by hitting the Update Entry button up there on the right.)

    Photo of Meena Kadri
    Team

    Rocking stuff, guys! We're so excited to see where this goes.

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Thanks for the tips, Meena. I'm reaching out to some friends who work in related fields, and I hope they'll have some great input. And I plan to update the submission as soon as I can make the time. An extra hour in the day would help. :)

    Photo of Bettina Fliegel
    Team

    Hi Andy. Congratulations! This idea is great. It is a great way to work at problem solving with others. It is also a physical activity which will get kids out of their seats and moving and they won't be in trouble because of it. I think this can help them, in and of itself. For some children it is difficult to sit all day and this interferes with their learning. Tinker Teams will enhance education for kids in many ways.
      Have a look at the Model UN as a guide for some of the more practical questions you may have. They outline the basics for their program and maybe you can apply some of them to yours.
    http://www.unausa.org/global-classrooms-model-un/how-to-participate/getting-started/frequently-asked-questions
      Good luck.

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Bettina,

    Thanks for your comment and for the link. The suggestions under starting a Model UN club will definitely be helpful. Please keep the suggestions coming!

    Photo of Christopher Rannefors
    Team

    Hi Andy!

    Fun idea! Something to think about is how your idea might partner with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science & Technology) which was founded by Dean Kamen. FIRST runs on a very similar model, and has a lot of competitions that they run on local/regional levels, which then lead to the "Superbowl" of FIRST, where top teams from all across the country compete. They also do a great job of connecting student teams with professional mentors in the real world - also something you might want to consider.

    Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1QyM9WTF18

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    I'm flattered and proud to be a member of Tinker Teams Virtual Team, Andy!

    Photo of OpenIDEO
    Team

    Great job on this simple yet fun Top 22 idea, Andy! We really liked how you've built on the debate team model but with a maker, hands-on twist. As you get involved in Refinement, think about what need these teams are fulfilling – is it skill building? Teamwork and leadership training? Something else? How might these teams round out their learning and hone their creative confidence in ways beyond competitions? Maybe through exhibitions, fairs or even students teaching other students in some way? Also, we're excited that you've mentioned prototyping this as a start. Give it a try and let us know what you learn. For more tips for this Refinement phase, check out http://ideo.pn/cc-refinetips and catch our Lowdown on Refinement at http://bit.ly/oi_refine

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Wow. Thank you. I'm flattered and looking forward to Refinement.

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    Andy, Great Concept. I wish I was back at school in order to get a go at this :) ! As mentioned by openIDEO in the previous comment, the community will give you things to think about such as the format such as time based rounds or objective based building? Perhaps using the built model from the previous round of ''debates'' to then adapt into a completely new end result - sort of a snowball effect using the ''debate'' topics to build and solve bigger and better things. All the best and I will be sticking around on this idea for sure ! :)

    Photo of DeletedUser
    Team

    DeletedUser

    I appreciate OpenIDEO's question regarding thinking in ways beyond competitions. This challenge is to 'inspire young people to cultivate their confidence' so I'm not 100% convinced the competitions are the best manner to achieve the goal. By placing youth in a competitive environment, it may actually do the anthesis and bruise their confidence if they don't win. Exhibitions and fairs are wonderful suggestions. Perhaps these teams aren't competing but working collaboratively to create a portfolio of their projects? If Tinker Teams ends up being a year-long school project, a printed portfolio to have at the end of the year, to hold (to keep with your theme of creating tangible things) and see all that was created over the prior months as smaller teams within an entire team, may significantly boost all participants' creative confidence.

    Photo of Andy La Fond
    Team

    Conor,

    Thanks for your thought. A multi-stage or progressive challenge sounds like fun.

    Any further help or thoughts you can provide on the format and content of the challenges would be much appreciated. Also, it would be great to figure out some paper prototypes to get feedback from kids on the challenges.

    Andy