Hands-On-Learning: Chris Rogers

Phil Gay


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Interview Participants
Basically, you guys have five minutes, actually you got three minutes to try and put all the lego bricks together into one shape that when you drop it, it won't break. Good luck and God’s speed.
So, just to make your life a little bit easier, I'll let you leave three pieces on the table, any three pieces you want.
Alright, you ready? Three, two, one. Drop! Hey, got one to stay, excellent! Okay, what you guys just went through was an engineering design problem or process. You had a problem statement at the beginning, you went through a solution, you solved it, and you tested it. So, a couple things I wanted to show that what you guys did along the way.
First off, it was interesting to see that very few groups actually planned or brainstormed at all. They immediately started to build. This is a very difficult issue actually, to get people to think before they build. Women typically are better at that than men. It's very difficult to get guys to think before they use their hands.
So, the way you structure your classroom is important in that respect, in that you want to force them actually to do some thinking first. So, all of a sudden now in a classroom I can learn from your solution. And so I've actually started in my classrooms having kids send homework assignments up to basically a wiki and so you can look at everybody else's homework assignment,
which is tough for kids because they've been trained all their life not to cheat. And really the first thing I'm trying to do is teach them to cheat. It makes sense to learn from other people. To me, this is far more fun to do than a lecture. Especially when you start to see the kids pointing at what each other are doing, they're saying, 'We should be doing what they're doing. How did you guys do that?'
Because then you realize you've really got them. Because ultimately I think our real goal at the university level is not really teaching content, it's teaching them how to learn on their own and this is sort of the first step in doing that. In 20 minutes you are going to have a structure that you're going to show to the rest of the group that somehow explains your interpretation of multiple learning styles.
So, this was the mouth conveying to the ear to represent auditory learning. Also, to have the eyes pointing to the visual learning style. We also wanted to include kinesthetic.
The reason that there is a little gap there is to recognize the unknowable, […] mysterious, ethereal value. Man cannot know everything, even the best scholar or the best student. This structure here does not denote a barrier, a man-made impediment, but it represents a heaven. Something that we cannot reach.
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