Playing with rusty nails: ‘Conceptual tinkering’ for ‘next’ practice


  • Simon N. Leonard University of Canberra
  • Sarah Belling University of Canberra
  • Alexandra Morris University of Canberra
  • Eva Reynolds University of Canberra



design based implementation research, teacher professional learning, tinkering, play


An important issue for the Educational Design Research (EDeR) community to continue to deal with is the scalable and sustainable implementation of its methods, findings and designs beyond the bounds of specific projects. Those engaged in EDeR specifically seek out concurrent problems of theory and problems of practice, but this should not be seen as sufficient for ensuring their work has impact beyond their current project. Just as with other forms of research, EDeR practitioners must still reach out to and connect with educational institutions and teachers who are dealing with many competing demands.

This position paper offers a largely theoretical contribution to the discussion of the problem of implementation. It will introduce the concept of conceptual tinkering as an approach to engaging teachers in the skillsets and, more importantly, the mindsets of EDeR as an approach to educational improvement. Sketches and prototypes of tools to enable conceptual tinkering will be discussed.

Author Biography

Simon N. Leonard, University of Canberra

Simon N. Leonard is an associate professor of the Learning Sciences and the Associate Director of the Inspire Centre for Innovation in Education and Training at the University of Canberra. He has previously held roles as Head of Teacher Education at Canberra, and as a secondary school science teacher. His research investigates the scalable and sustainable implementation of educational innovation.




How to Cite

Leonard, S. N., Belling, S., Morris, A., & Reynolds, E. (2017). Playing with rusty nails: ‘Conceptual tinkering’ for ‘next’ practice. EDeR. Educational Design Research, 1(1).



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