Bricoleurs in #edtech

The French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss introduced the concept of the bricoleur. Wikipedia is a good starting point for defining new terms, so I started with that definition when I started promoting this approach to using technology in schools more than a decade ago: “It is borrowed from the French word bricolage, from the verb bricoleur – the core meaning in French being, ‘fiddle, tinker’” and, by extension, “make creative and resourceful use of whatever materials are to hand (regardless of their original purpose).”

Applied to the education and information technology in education, a bricoleur is one who plays around with the computers that are made available in the school to develop the ability to use the devices for educationally sound purposes. When one is a bricoleur, one:

… does not rely on the manual or instructions;

… attempts tasks with little care about whether or not they are successful;

… understands computers are only computers and there is nothing that cannot be fixed;

  … changes the focus of their inquiry from tasks to potentials… rather than asking “how to I…?” they are “what can I do with…?”