Tinkering with learning

Day 3 of #29daysofwriting and I sat down to write my post for today and initially was met with a blank.   Not a great start with only 3 days done and 26 days remaining.   Hopefully this is only a temporary road bump in a successfully 29 days of posting, however only time will tell.

For today’s contribution I would like to discuss “tinkering”.    I haven’t given much thought towards tinkering until recently and my recent consideration of tinkering is a direct result of recent events.   Before I discuss tinkering further let me first recount the events.

I have a large storage drive on which I backup my files at home including work files, home files and a variety of other files and file types.   When I purchased the device I purposely picked a RAID device as it has 4 drives and is resilient to single drive failures.   I thought this was a good way to keep my files safe from loss.   Sadly the actual truth is not that simple.   Basically what occurred was that the cooling fan within the unit failed.   As a result of the failure the unit automatically shuts down to protect the drives and data contained on the drives thus making the unit unusable and the data inaccessible until the unit could be prepared.   Should have been straight forward however, as expected, the unit was outside warranty as is often the case.   I therefore asked for info about replacement parts to be told that the unit doesn’t have user serviceable parts.   So at this point it looked like everything was lost.


Not so as out came the screwdrivers and I started tinkering.   I started removing screws to see if I could get to the fan.   A fair few screws later plus a slightly deformed chassis and I had the fan out.   Next it was onto the internet to order fans which although not direct replacements appear similar in nature to the unit contained in the NAS drive.    I expect the new fan to arrive in the next few days to be met with more tinkering as I try to fit it back into the NAS drive and get everything back up and running.

I enjoyed my tinkering and look forward to more tinkering when the fan arrives.   I knew what I wanted to achieve but was problem solving and experimenting to get to it.   Some of my approaches were unsuccessful however no-one told me I was wrong.  I just realized this myself when confronted with a dead end.   Some of my approaches such as bending the chassis to get the fan out weren’t perfect although they got me to the solution.   I had to do my research to search for new fans seeking out a part with limited information available to me.

I wonder how we might get students tinkering more in their learning.   If they enjoy and are half as engaged as I was then it is bound to be a success.



Author: garyhenderson2014

Gary Henderson is currently the Director of IT in an Independent school in the UK. Prior to this he worked as the Head of Learning Technologies working with public and private schools across the Middle East. This includes leading the planning and development of IT within a number of new schools opening in the UAE. As a trained teacher with over 15 years working in education his experience includes UK state secondary schools, further education and higher education, as well as experience of various international schools teaching various curricula. This has led him to present at a number of educational conferences in the UK and Middle East.

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