Teaching and Learning with Objects, Spring 2014 (Instructor)



Objects embody natural processes as well as human activity and are ubiquitous in our everyday lived experience. They can connect people, places, and ideas and are open to interpretation through a range of disciplinary lenses. This course invites students to begin examining the role of objects in learning and teaching across multiple contexts and audiences. Students will explore how the close examination of physical things can be the starting point for engaging learners in sophisticated and varied inquiry. Through readings, discussions, group work, and object experiences, students will investigate questions such as: What is object-based learning, and how does it compare to other forms of learning? What does research and theory from different disciplines tell us about object-based learning? How are object-based learning experiences designed? Students will engage in experiential object-based activities to gain a first-hand understanding of learning through objects, contextualized in the existing literature. The main project in the course requires students to work in small groups to design and implement an object-based learning experience for an audience of the group's choosing. The course also incorporates reflective writing and a field trip. This is an introductory survey designed for students with an interest in thinking creatively about teaching and learning and is applicable for those working in any setting with any audience.