Monday, April 6, 2009
Get ready to have your mind blown - "Picturing to Learn" a truly innovative teaching technique and its potential use in the law school classroom
Here's a truly innovative teaching technique developed to help students understand difficult scientific concepts that might also have great potential in law school. It's called the "Picturing to Learn" project that began with the premise that asking scientists to visually express their research through drawings would help them clarify in their own minds the underlying science. After some initial experiments, it led Felice Frankel, a one-time landscape photographer and biology researcher who is now a senior researcher at Harvard's Initiative in Innovative Computing, to approach a team of educators and cognitive scientists with the idea of using this technique to help high school students better understand difficult scientific concepts.
Known as the "Picturing to Learn" project, now in its second phase of funding from the National Science Foundation, it has been used in 11 undergraduate courses so far. . . . Pen in hand, undergraduates learn more about concepts like ionization or energy transfer by having to explain them to nonexperts, she said. And their teachers can look at the drawings and get a sense of how well students understand what they’re trying to explain.
'You don’t have to be talented,' said Frankel, who admits she can’t draw 'for beans.' 'We have some wonderful drawings with stick figures that are brilliantly explanatory.'
Personally, I can see this having wonderful potential in the legal writing classroom - or law school generally, by asking students to draw difficult concepts as a way to better help them understand those ideas as well as an effective assessment tool for the teacher. Since most agree we are moving towards a "visual society" (if we're not there already) this is a technique that could be particularly effective with today's students.
Once again, a big hat tip to Chris Wren - this blog could not function without him.
I am the scholarship dude.