Chemistry in the SMALLab. Credit: Ken Howie Photography>
In this post I'll go over two applications of embodied learning. First is SMALLab, a learning environment using motion-capture technology and large scale projections to track movements in space, and second is Science Choreography, a project through Wesleyan University and the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange that combines art, science, and kinesthetic learning to teach science topics. But before getting into all of that, a look at what embodied learning actually means:
The SMALLab website defines embodied learning as "a field that blends the learning sciences and human computer interaction". Science Choreography deals more with the direct translation of a process or concept into movement. In this video, Liz Lerman describes, "when you embody a process you start to realize what you don't understand, and you begin to ask questions because you want to get the movements right." In embodied learning, physical movement is the medium through which we internalize knowledge.
A few learning theories relevant to embodied learning are embodied cognition, differentiated instruction, and social constructivism. Some quick-ish definitions before getting into the examples:
Embodied Cognition is the argument that all aspects of cognition are determined by the body. This includes higher level cognition like reasoning, judgement, and categorization.
Differentiated instruction refers to a teaching philosophy contrary to the "one size fits all" model that many schools go by today. Students are provided avenues for learning and assessment that are effective for all students, regardless of ability.
In a couple of weeks (March 14-16) I'll be heading to Chicago for the annual Digital Media and Learning Conference organized by the DML Research Hub. The theme this year is "Democratic Futures: Mobilizing Voices, and Remixing Youth Participation".
There has been a longstanding narrative of youth political apathy and disengagement from democratic life. As the currents of social, political, financial, and global change intensify, what is the future of participatory democracy, youth activism, and civic and political education? How are the practices and forms of participatory democracy evolving in the age of social, digital, and mobile media?
So many good talks, and I think a few of my favorites overlap unfortunately. Anyhow, here are some I'm especially looking forward to:
ChicagoQuest Curriculum Design Jam
"In this workshop, players will be taught the different phases of our curriculum design process. They will form small teams to compete against other teams in a guided challenge to design at each of the “levels” of the curriculum design process, both experiencing and designing CQ-style game-like learning."
Seems that I've been mentioning the Quest Schools in every post at this point...
Games, Learning and the Future of Assessment
"The development of game-based assessments to support the learning of domain-based knowledge and skills." Very excited for this one.
Article: Quest to Learn as a Model for Higher Education Pretty much exactly what I want to do. In this article, Justin W. Marquis goes through a few key features of Q2L and examines how they might be applied to higher ed, particularly the […]
I just watched a great webinar at Connected Learning with Katie Salen who is a co-author of Rules of Play, and director of the Institute of Play. Below is a recording followed by some notes.
Katie Salen: Making Learning Irresistible: 6 Principles of Game-like Learning
Key Design Principles
How do we to take a theory and translate it into an actionable principle?
Creating a need to know:
Games drop players into problem spaces that a player is willing to confront and solve.
Curriculum design should revolve around creating a need to know, not about what to know.
Games as spaces of possibility:
Teachers create a space of possibility for students or players to tinker, explore, and test assumptions.
Start with content to teach and present it in a space for learners to experiment.
Get students comfortable with failing by structuring coursework around iterations.