fbpx Tools and practices for tinkering and distance learning | Ecsite

Tools and practices for tinkering and distance learning

April 2021
Tinkering Workroom 1-22 April. Photo credit: Wonderful Idea Co.

The Tinkering Workroom

This Workroom was for all museum professionals, both experienced or new to the field, curious about the practice of tinkering and making. It was suitable for all educators in schools and libraries, as well as after school-programme leaders who wanted to learn with and from a network of making and tinkering practitioners and science centres.

The series - a recap

In each of the weekly workroom sessions, participants experienced a hands-on tinkering activity using everyday materials facilitated by experienced educators. Each of these projects provided a starting point for thinking about designing art, science and engineering workshops for participants in an online or in-person setting.

Participants were given the chance to converse with colleagues and experts in small ‘breakout rooms’ about current topics, hear about the questions that we have and start to think about potential solutions. Topics included facilitating families/children at home via Zoom, equitable practices in the context of distance learning, finding new funding sources, and an open mic share out about lessons learned during the pandemic.

Resources were shared and the conversation continued in between the sessions on a collaborative online workspace.

Outcomes for participants

  • learn how to create and facilitate rich tinkering experiences online
  • discuss and reflect on big questions and potential for the future of maker education during the pandemic and post-COVID
  • join an active network of making and tinkering practitioners and plan next steps together


  • tinkering
  • making
  • #ecsiteworkrooms
  • #makeecsite
  • Ecsite workrooms


Tinkering Studio R&D lead
Co-Founder, Education
Wonderful Idea Co.
Senior project manager Education
Makerspace educator
Norsk Teknisk Museum
jh Museum & exhibition design
Founder and Director of AlElieh for Science Environment and Art Science and Maker Educator / consultant
AlElieh for Science Environment and Art
Principal and Owner
Monika Mayer Consulting
Consultant and trainer
Bea Rey
ARTENCURS Institució La Vall
Science Centre Immaginario Scientifico


This Workroom has now ended. Check out our main Workrooms page for other Workrooms and make sure you are signed up to receive news on Ecsite's events, as more will be coming in the autumn.


1 April 2021

In the first session of the Workroom we'll get to know each other, try an open-ended activity designed for online tinkering workshops and discuss how the pandemic has changed and complicated tinkering projects, programmes and environments both online and in-person.

8 April 2021

During the second workshop we'll meet some artists, scientists and makers from around the world and see how their approach can inspire our explorations. We'll try out a hands-on activity together and reflect on different ways of describing the goals and outcomes of the tinkering experience.

15 April 2021

In the third session we'll think together about the ways that tinkering involves a sense of co-creation. We'll hear participants’ and facilitators’ voices and discuss how we can support personal expression and engage with communities. We'll consider how the pandemic has provided challenges and opportunities for an inclusive practice.

22 April 2021

In the final session we'll reflect on ways to document our work and collaborate with each other. We'll brainstorm ways to support professional development activities, try out one more project that can be facilitated at home using everyday materials and return to the initial prompt of thinking about why tinkering is a valuable approach for all learners.