Two years ago, school librarians in our district were asking questions about creating active learning environments for students that incorporate a variety of technology tools. Some were already purchasing these tools. Others felt overwhelmed by the options available and the integration of such tools.
In response, we created Tinker Tubs, mobile tubs that may be checked out by school librarians for two weeks at a time. The tubs had two purposes: to test the tools for future purchases and to supplement a current makerspace collection. The librarians were able to check out the items, utilize in the library with a variety of classes, and develop a vision for integrating tools like these on a permanent basis. With limited budgets, the librarians wanted to get the best deal on many tech tools – many tried out the tubs and then were able to make purchases based on usability, comfort level, and integration possibilities. We also provided tools that would work for a variety of grade levels, so librarians could determine the best tool for their grade levels.
Each tub contains the technology tool(s), manuals, inventory sheets, and necessary supplies, including batteries. We found tubs with wheels for easy transport and labeled the tubs and all contents with Sharpies and stickers.
- Robot Tub #1: Contains Spheros, BB-8 Sphero, and Ollies
- Robot Tub #2 & #3: Wonder Dash and Dot Robots
- Robot #4: Edison Robots, Cubelets and Finch Robots
- VR Tub: Virtual Reality Headsets and iPods
- Kano Computing Tub: Kano Computing Kits
- Osmo Tub: Osmo Kits including Words, Numbers, Tangram, and Coding
- Circuit Tub: Little Bits
- Coding Tub: Variety of activities including Robot Turtles Board Game, Little Code, and Beebot Robots
For checkout procedures, we utilize the Google Calendar for librarians to view availability. Once a school receives the tub, librarians may utilize the Tinker Tub web page to access guides, videos, and additional details for using the tubs.
Once complete, an inventory is taken of the tub and then sent to the next building.
Author: Becca Munson
Becca Munson, Librarian, is a National Board Certified Teacher with over 24 years of experience in education. Becca is the Coordinator for Library Systems in the Blue Valley School District. Previously, she was school librarian at Blue Valley West High School. She opened two buildings in Blue Valley and spent some time as an Ed Tech Specialist before returning to libraries. Becca supports over 45 librarians and support staff as they work to fulfill the mission of flexible scheduling, collaboration, and literacy.