Saturday, April 30, 2016

Korwin and Jones.

bending wood for a box guitar box
In my wood shop, I have been working on necks for box guitars and have three basic styles differing in their design and in their complexity to make. In addition I'll add fretted versions, and also use off-the-shelf fretted ukulele fingerboards that come ready made. With necks underway, I'm turning my attention to making boxes for the bodies. Some will be similar to those I made at school, including the classic "k" body. Others will involve bent wood, using simple techniques like that shown in the image above.

Several years ago I ran across a study that compared hands-on learning with lecture based learning, and then I misplaced my link to it without remembering I had posted it to the blog in December 2006. It is an important study as it directly compares hands-on learning with classroom instruction based on lecture and illustration. The results were a no-brainer, as any one with actual experience with their own hands-on learning would know. The study by Korwin and Jones: Do Hands-On, Technology-Based Activities Enhance Learning by Reinforcing Cognitive Knowledge and Retention? The conclusion reads:
The results of this research have significant implications for general education and specifically technology education. The results suggest that hands-on activities enhance cognitive learning. Previous studies neglected to address psychomotor effects on cognitive growth, even when many educational theorists, like Dewey, supported learning using psychomotor experiences. The results also suggest that technology education has a strong basis in learning theory in its use of hands-on activities to relate technological concepts. This is done in part by improving short and long term memory retention of in- formation through greater use of visual, auditory, tactile, and motor memory storage areas of the brain. — Korwin and Jones
A more recent study found that Not only are lectures boring, they are ineffective, too. 
“This is a really important article—the impression I get is that it’s almost unethical to be lecturing if you have this data,” says Eric Mazur, a physicist at Harvard University who has campaigned against stale lecturing techniques for 27 years and was not involved in the work. “It’s good to see such a cohesive picture emerge from their meta-analysis—an abundance of proof that lecturing is outmoded, outdated, and inefficient.”
It is extremely unlikely that such research will change anything. Schooling is much more about the pretense that society cares about kids, and much less about bringing forth holistic values through education. At the beginning of the 18th century Comenius had described accurately how children learn. Nothing has changed. The children still learn in the same manner. The experts describe how children learn, and the policy makers go ahead with their own plans regardless.

The following is from Robert Keable Row's book, the Educational Meaning of Manual Arts and Industries, 1909:
Possibly the ideal kindergarten furnishes the best example of the true function of the school. In a home where the mother has been well prepared for the duties of motherhood; has time to devote to her children; to direct, to some extent, their play; to tell and read appropriate stories; to teach simple songs and melodies; to furnish suitable occupation in modeling, drawing, painting, making; to explain some of the simple facts and processes that come under observation; for children in such a home the kindergarten is unnecessary. However, there are countless thousands of children not blessed with such a home. For the children of the untrained mother who does not know how to do the things enumerated above, for those of the overworked mother who has not time to do them, and for those of the over-leisured mother who does not realize her highest, most sacred duties and privileges, the kindergarten is an inestimable boon in that it does provide in a regular, well organized way, many of those experiences. The real test of the value of the kindergarten is the extent to which it carries on appropriately many of those activities, experiences, that should come abundantly to the life of the child in good home and community surroundings.
For many parents in very "good homes", the gifts and methods of Kindergarten served to supercharge the development of their children, even without formal Kindergarten classes.  Educational sloyd in schools was of benefit to children in just the same manner.

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the love of learning likewise.

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