677 UAS Robotics ~ Week 2

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

This week’s topic is about how we can learn (tinkering), the level of commitment a person has to learning (hard play) and our self- perception (growth mindset). Tinkering is to make a small change in something because you hope to improve or fix it (Cambridge.org). I would have to say that in my computer science class “tinkering” was required for some of the hardware aspects of the class. Tinkering is how we can learn how things work. People often like to see how things are put together which really helps them understand how a device works.

Work Hard. Play Hard. Attitude (often motto) present in many elitist or successful groups of people especially at wealthy, elite private schools, expensive highly-ranked universities, and among yuppies. Basically means that one works hard at school … (Urbandictionary.com). Hard play is the mindset as hard work, but in a different aspect. Hard play is when we go above and beyond in “play;” whether that be a sport, a game, or anything that can be competitive.

A mindset, according to Dweck, is a self-perception or “self-theory” that people hold about themselves. Believing that you are either “intelligent” or “unintelligent” is a simple example of a mindset. People may also have a mindset related their personal or professional lives—“I’m a good teacher” or “I’m a bad parent,” for example. People can be aware or unaware of their mindsets, according to Dweck, but they can have profound effect on learning achievement, skill acquisition, personal relationships, professional success, and many other dimensions of life. According to Dweck, “In a Fixed Mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits (edglossary.org).

Therefore someone with a Fixed Mindset will not spend time developing intelligence or talent. They believe they are either just smart of dumb – there is no in between. If a person feels they are inferior then the will think that are not able to learn math and they will have the correct mindset to learn the new skill.

A growth mindset is a belief that we can get smarter through hard work and practice. This means that struggling with something difficult doesn’t mean you’re not smart—it’s a chance to grow your intelligence. Growth mindset is all about trying hard, using good strategies, and getting the help you need.

Having a growth mindset could involve:

  • Taking on new challenges with optimism
  • Being able to talk about what you learned

Growth mindset is a popular notion in the field of education right now, but it’s commonly misunderstood. It might seem like growth mindset implies that everyone has exactly the same potential in every domain, but that’s not quite true. Instead, growth mindset means everyone’s intellectual ability can always be further developed. Growth mindset is not about telling your students to never give up. A benefit of growth mindset is that it helps you stay motivated to stick it out when things are difficult, but telling students not to quit won’t do that alone. You have to (truthfully!) convince kids that their efforts will result in increased ability (because ability can grow!) and remind them that they’re learning when something is hard for them to do.

Our current topics are not new frameworks for learning. Having the correct mindset, drive to learn (hard play), and method of learning (tinkering) have always been part of our human history. The three methods do overlap when examining how people learn and what makes them successful. Do we want a student to just read a book and learn a new skill, or do we want them to tinker in hard play with the correct attitude (growth mindset)? We want students to learn a new skill and to want to learn more. We want to teach them in a manner where learning is fun, while creating a hunger for more.



Martinez, S. L., & Stager, G. (n.d.). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom.

Cambridge Dictionaries Online. Definition of “tinker” – English Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved May 18, 2016, from http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/tinker

Work hard play hard. (n.d.). Retrieved May 18, 2016, from http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=work%20hard%20play%20hard

Growth Mindset. (n.d.). Retrieved May 18, 2016, from http://edglossary.org/growth-mindset/



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