The question of “what kind of educational experience changes lives?” is truly an important question. The goal of educators is to often have high impact on their students so they can go out with knowledge and change the world. However, my self I can only remember a handful of instructors/ classes that really had a strong impact on my learning experience or just me as a person, that is surprising to me as I reflect because I have been in school forever (straight fro high school 2009). It was interesting to find out through Kuh’s article that active learning practices was unsystematic at the undergraduate level of education. But now that I really think about it, it is really not surprising to me at all. I work as a substitute teacher for a awhile. And my GTA focuses on how to teach pre-service teachers science (STEM) grades K-12 due to the lack of women and diversity in the STEM careers and higher education, this course that pre-service teachers have to take focuses on how teachers can present science in an engaging way. Focusing also on inquiry based learning and Understanding By Design (UBD) model (a backward design model focusing on doing the activity first then talking student through what they just say happening in the activity).
I know I went off on kind of a tangent but this idea of active learning not being systematic at the undergraduate level is not surprising because it is not systematic at the K-12 level (especially in sub filed like science) which is an interesting notion because everyone learns differently and I believe that all 5 senses need to be recognized as instructors teach material due to the fact that everyone attains knowledge and information in different ways.
As I substituted I saw alot of students using internet-based material and technology for learning, such as ipods, ipads, computers (especially for students that were known to act out. Instructions for me as a sub was to just “let them get on the computer”. I mean yes it made my job easier to handle the rest of the class but to think of all the psycho-social impact that it had on these students that “acted out” is kind of scary. Smart boards are in the classroom there in no more white boards and all fundamental learning games are on the internet or technology based materials for these students. Only one teacher I saw still used and hand blocks and marbles to help teach the students to count. So network learning has taken place in all levels and areas of education. Can this be a good thing to keep society technically advanced? Yes. But I also think there needs to be a balance of networked based learning and the “old school way” of learning as well.