Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Hands-on makes better learning, duh

Hands make better learning, but you would have to be utterly brain dead to not be able to get a grip on the concept. Sam, a reader in Indiana alerted me to a report on a study at Perdue University, adding new statistical evidence of the value of Hands-on learning. Read about it here! Some of us are skilled and empowered by our activities to understand the value of hands-on learning as proven by our own experience. For others, there is university research, and I am grateful that there are those willing to take time to provide evidence. Those who just don't get it have made a mess of American education.
"The findings suggest that hands-on, problem-solving learning may have advantages over traditional lecture- and textbook-based methods of teaching students about engineering and technology, said Melissa Dark, a Purdue professor of computer and information technology.

It's not just the hands-on work -- it's exploring science through the application of technology and exploring technology through the application of scientific principles," said Dark, who worked on the study. "Those two things build on each other."

In the study, eighth-graders who were assigned to build a water purification device -- and spent hours designing and building their systems -- scored an average of 20 points higher on a science test than students taught through traditional means."
The first and second grade students started work on their totem pole. It was kind a a frustrating morning with the kids having just returned to school from a week off due to the ice storm. But we made progress.

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