Podcast with Gever Tulley

Russell Cailey
2 min readNov 12, 2022

Founder of Brightworks and the Tinkering School talks with the THINK Learning Studio.

For Think Learning Studio to meet Gever Tulley was indeed an opportunity to meet a leading educationalist in a joyful discussion about designing a school to follow a learner’s native curiosity with master tinkerer @gevertulley — co-founder of @sf_brightworks Brightworks School (San Francisco, CA, US), co-founder of @tinkeringschool, author of “50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do)”, toymaker, and TED big-stage speaker — for our latest Season 1 episode of the “Wander & Wonder: Exploring the Future of Learning” podcast.

A couple of breadcrumb trail ideas Gever shared:

- his school purposefully “looks for evidence of magic” and was launched to defend the idea that “everything is interesting.”

- letting elementary, middle, and high school kids co-build a 2–3 story structure called “Kid City” in an empty warehouse helped the school’s vision and pedagogy become real to everyone in year one

- why would you invite a kid to “be a robot on Mars” as a strategic response to Covid, and how do you scale that invitation to kids worldwide?

- exploring questions and ideas as a ‘keyhole’ offering a speck of light from a distance

- inviting all of his PreK-12th students to spend a half-year studying “monsters” followed by a half-year studying “machines.”

- build in “improvisational collaboration” across a school -> “create serendipitous overlaps where things emerge.”

- why an accessible power tool wall (drills, drivers, saws, etc.) implicitly says to a young person: “We trust you” and “Use what you need to explore your idea.”

- the importance of prototyping spaces, whether by building cardboard shoji screens and removing doors from classrooms, including providing children spaces they own outright

and

- crafting a manifesto that shifts education from ‘testing kids’ to ‘testing schools’ by evaluating the presence of joy and delight; how central collaboration is across the school; the amount of autonomy that students have to explore their ideas; and how much a child’s creative capacity is invested in.

Release Date: Gever’s episode is now LIVE.

All 13 episodes will be released over November on the TLS Youtube Channel and Webpage.

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Russell Cailey

Managing Director of THINK Learning Studio | Curiosity Anywhere, Learning Everywhere.