[Activity 5] Time for Tinkering


Hi there,

I was setting up the discourse platform where students, parents, educators, edtech makers could collaborate, inspired by LCL:

EduDiscourse is a platform for students, educators, parents, and edtech makers. You will find and post prompts here - learning and teaching topics that you struggle with, challenging problems for the enjoyment of solving, materials about which you want to hear the second opinion. You will find mentors, mentees, and peers with whom to collaborate here, either on the platform or off the platform (you need to have the permission of the guardian, if less than 18). You will find reflections, resources, reviews, news, and support or get support for creating Open Educational Resources. Visit to grow, connect, and help.

Reflection: I realized I need to start small (putting too many categories at first and perhaps formulated the focus too broadly). I realized I am uncertain about the results and may need to push beyond initial frustration that can arrive and develop new skills like marketing and fundraising. I appreciated the role of friendly user experience - possibility to put the pieces together seamlessly.



This week I have been tinkering with an Ozobot. I have not used one before and started by reading the instructions. I tried to work quite methodically through activities but then ended up by just learning a few coding combinations and just experimenting with these.


Hello everyone,
I used a Makey Makey kit and an old drawing to play with imagery and sound. I experimented with different ways to make hidden “buttons” on the art to activate a sound when touched. I tried different drawing pencils to create graphite based conductors in #3. I used copper tape and aluminum foil in #4 and #5, to make switches to close circuits without holding a ground wire in your hand. I played with different materials like conductive thread insulated with tape in #7, and threaded through holes under a contact point made of glue mixed with iron filings. As a ground connection, I found sticking your finger into a steel wool worked very well. I downloaded sound files to a Soundplant app to program keys on my laptop which controlled the Makey Makey via a USB cable. It was fun tinkering with different materials to play music through an image. MakeymakeyArtProjectGraphiteConductorsCopperConductors%20copyCopperConductorsConductorOptionsGraphiteConductorOptionsSoundplant


I like this project tinkering with food. It awakes senses like smell and taste which are not usually engaged in creative work. Seeing the result of your experiment also delighted my eyes in a way inedible materials do not. Being hungry at the moment, my curiosity is peaked about the granola bars’ taste and texture. Did your experiment taste good in the end?


Last week I tinkered with a panel presentation. I work in equity-focused computer science education policy reform at the state level. I was invited to facilitate a panel of experts who would speak about how they moved education policy to increase the number and diversity of students in K-12 CS education.

If anyone has been following my discussion threads you will see that my background is in informal education. I am now working on the formal side of K-12, seeking to blend the two distinct worlds/cultures/communities. My tinkering resulted in the dismantling of a panel (literally and figuratively) and the building of an interactive workshop. Interactive workshops are more common in informal settings, K-12 policy folks (I’m generalizing a bit) tend to appreciate a panel.

The goal of the summit, of which my presentation was to be a part of, was to expand CS education across a state, with a focus on diversity. I wanted to draw out the experiences and expertise of the 80+ people who were registered for my ‘panel’. I knew that a panel format was not going to do this. By the time 4 experts spoke and engaged in some Q&A, there would be limited time to have the audience really engage with their own ideas and knowledge. I wanted to build a more dynamic experience.

I convened the panelists for a virtual working session to design the ‘panel’ session. This allowed me to engage their knowledge and expertise and construct a more interactive session for the attendees. The panelists were game and jumped right into tinkering with an agenda that would engage the group. The result was a 1:20 minute session that explored the local context of CS education and drew out strategies for state education policy reform.

Had I not tinkered with the panel, the voices of the local experts would have been lost. They would have heard from a strong panel and gained new ideas, but that would have been less engaging. Instead the 77 attendees networked with colleagues, shared their practice and understanding of CS policy in the state, and made recommendations that will impact their state’s CS education reform plans.

Tinkering, play and creativity doesn’t always require wood, paper and glue. Sometimes we need to tinker with ideas, models and concepts. Although the colorful sticky notes, markers and flip charts did make the room more playful and inviting.

Initial feedback was positive. After the session, the panel facilitator next door approached me and asked what our ‘panel’ was about because she heard so much conversation from the audience…success!


Tinkering with the Toseland Tally Counter

This past week I tinkered with an idea that a friend of mine had told me about. Over the Family Day long weekend in February she needed a way to know how many people were currently inside of the exhibition for the fire code, but there were multiple doors and people working the door and there were no tickets specially made for the event. We had encountered the same issue with running a beer garden in the Summer. The way that we solved it was two tally counters taped together one with an in-label and one with an out-label. A person was stationed at each entrance and they would minus out from in numbers then combine together, that would get total guests in at a time.
We had discussed how it would be great to have a more shareable version of this. I was learning Javascript at the time and felt like there had to be a way to do this in a browser on a phone.
This past week when I heard that the topic was tinkering I thought it would be a good time to pull out this idea and see if I could make a prototype. I had just finished building an RGB-colour guessing game from a tutorial online so I had some Javascript concepts still rattling around that I wanted to mix back together into this build.
Here is a link to the Toseland Tally Counter, I haven’t got all the way yet with the style or functionality but it was fun to just combine “blocks” of code and figure out the structure of a tally counter.
I noticed that I would get stuck on a few parts of building it sometimes but felt okay with just letting it happen with what I remembered and googling the rest of what I needed. I also wanted to get to having a tally counter that would sync to other ones but that will be my modivation to start learining backend programming.


This project looks really cool! Love the numbered documentation! Do you have a link to a video? Also, have you ever tried conductive paint? It’s pretty fun to play with - sounds like you more or less made your own, with glue mixed with iron fillings! Here’s Eric (from our lab here, and the creator of the Makey Makey) playing with conductive paint.


I love this tinkering project! I agree - sometimes tinkering becomes synonymous with certain materials or subject areas, so it’s really great to see you applying it to your work in this way. Do others find themselves tinkering with the design of processes and experiences?


Thanks, Lilly. I did not videotape the project but, will do with better sound files. Love Eric’s work! His musical designs inspired me. (thank him for the Makey Makey:) I could not get conductive paint delivered in time so, I made a substitute. It was messy but worth it. My daughter used the filings to play with a refrigerator magnet.


Ah cool! That’s super awesome that you made your own!


Hello, All. Here’s a video of my MaKey Music Maker project with my daughter at the keys.


Kids love coding with Ozobot. I did several workshops with them using a mix of free play, storytelling quests, treasure hunts and other basic games.


I am working on my personal portfolio site for applying to grad school. I found a plugin for Sketch App, Diya [ ], that allows one to animate within Sketch for free. It’s great because I can quickly mockup a transition animation without leaving the Sketch artboard.

I am new to UI animations and have a lot to learn. Not only of how to use the Diya plugin but also of animated interactions as a whole.

Though I have been tinkering the most on an on-demand mental health program using the edX platform:


Hello Richard, can i discuss with you please, i will like you to get in-touch with me through my email ( ) so we can discuss more , Thanks alot and i will be expecting to hear from you there soon


Hi, Rita.

I would be glad to help you. Can you tell me a little more about what you are working on?




One of my sons asked me how a calculator works. That’s difficult to explain to a 10 year old. I have been tinkering with LEGO to built a counter for my sons, so I have something visual, practical en working to explain that calculators work with a lot of steps of one and how that works, also for larger numbers.
The tinkering involved making two wheels with digits, making the wheels snap to the next digit, making the second wheel snap after ten snaps of the first wheel, making it look pretty, making it solid for being used by children. And finally making a PowerPoint presentation about this subject with my son for his class talk.


I made a story that combined “Star Wars” and “Never Ending Story”.

I looked up Scratch’s “Tutorial” and published “Project” to direct the story and used the script as a reference.


@Karin , this sounds like an amazing project! I would love to see a picture or video if you have one!


Hi Lily,
Sorry for my late response, but here are some pictures of my counter. It worked, but the transmission was a bit unstable, it needed a rebuilt with these components, but I never did that. There is room for improvement. I hope the pictures and labels are good enough to understand the working of the counter (I added some of the labels now, 2 years on, so I hope I got it all right).


Wow so cool! Thanks for sharing! I appreciate the way you’ve documented it, the labels/arrows really help.