Sunday, May 01, 2016

at home in your bunny slippers...

Please, don't try this in your bunny slippers.
Yesterday, after bending wood for a box guitar, I changed my mind and decided to make ukuleles instead. Once you have wood ripped thin enough to boil and bend, the rest is easy. It does have to be the right kind of wood as some species bend more easily without breaking. One eighth inch thick Mahogany snapped when I tried to get it to take the tight bends required.

What you see in the photos above and below are strips of bent elm drying in simple forms. The boards clamped to the work bench held the forms in the vise as I bent and clamped the wood in shape. Each side is book matched to the other. There are more complex means to achieve the shape. But this works and is simple and direct. I'll let the parts dry for a couple days before taking them out of the form. The form takes only about 5 minutes to make so for today's bending, I'll make two or three more and allow the ones made yesterday to dry undisturbed.

The following link is to a study comparing active classroom investigation to lecture only classes. It calls for a revolution in the way learning is delivered in American schooling.

Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics

The U.S. Dept. of Education conducted its own meta-analysis of distance learning, and it found there was no difference in being lectured at in a classroom versus through a computer screen at home. The author of the study linked above notes: "If you’re going to get lectured at, you might as well be at home in bunny slippers." And paying a lot less for the "experience."

bending the sides for a ukulele
If we were to total the number of hours in which students have been taught to little or no lasting positive effect, and if we were to measure the full range of costs of such malfeasance, Americans would be demanding an educational revolution. To fix things, schools must become laboratories of investigation in science and in the arts. To bring about that change we'd best take matters into our own hands.

Some people might wonder how hands-on learning works, and why it would have a greater effect. The simple answer seems to be related to the structure and processing in the brain:
Human memory has been the basis for much research and speculation on how information is processed, saved, and retrieved. Researchers have identified two types of memory: short term and long term. During the past ten years, developments in memory research identified four separate memories within the long and short term. Just as a computer requires different microchips to handle screen memory, printer memory, computer language, and so forth, Adams (1976) identified separate memories each for auditory, visual, tactile, and body motor functions. This implies that any information that more fully utilizes all four memories would be stronger and more easily retrieved. Craik and Lockhart (1972) believed that memory is reliant on the depth that information is processed by more memories and strengthens the learning potential.— Korwin and Jones (1990)
When we do real things, involving the full range of senses, there is a  built-in redundancy of available memory processes, each supporting the availability of the other.

Make, fix, create, and offer to others the joy of learning likewise.

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