The Jasper materials were created to provide a set of motivating problems for students and further provide a context for students to integrate knowledge from many subject areas such as science, history, English and mathematics (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1992). The Jasper series attempts to tackle a large problem that is still at the core of education today and a part of many educators’ pedagogy: create independent thinkers and not just students that are able to follow a set of procedures to solve basic arithmetic problems. The CTGV (1992) found that most students were able to answer basic questions that were posed to them, but were not effective at breaking down larger questions into smaller, more manageable sub questions. As an educator in an environment where inquiry and cross curricular projects are encouraged (and to some degree required), the problems the Jasper series address are important; Many of us are familiar with the changes to the British Columbia curriculum and how we are not just relying on students to know content but also curricular competencies as well (how they are doing it). With the rapidly changing environment in both our students’ lives and also the professional workplace, it is important to create graduates that are able to make informed decisions with the information they are given (Prado & Gravoso, 2011).
Contemporary video that are made to supplement instruction take on another approach that I don’t think are directly related to anchored instruction. Khan Academy tackles the issue of convenience and allows educators to flip the classroom. The lessons are very well designed, but again provide more of a traditional work-through example as opposed to students learning through inquiry. This is not to discount the effectiveness of this resource as students can use it as a primary source, or as a supplementary source to clarify topics they may not fully understand. Crash Course tackles the issue of engagement and also caters to our desire for information in a condensed way. I have seen many Crash Course videos (and often times is my first choice if I need a ‘Crash Course’ on a particular topic). The content is very condensed and is not anchored in any real-world problem that the student needs to solve but is rather a synopsis of a topic in an engaging and humorous way.
Prado, M., & Gravoso, R. (03/01/2011). The asia-pacific education researcher: Improving high school students’ statistical reasoning skills: A case of applying anchored instruction College of Education, De La Salle University
Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1992). The Jasper Experiment: An Exploration of Issues in Learning and Instructional Design. Educational Technology Research and Development, 40(1), 65-80. Retrieved from
I agree that video formats like Khan Academy still have value. I find they are great at helping reactivate procedural knowledge in math. I think Jasper demonstrates a better example of integration for deep contextual learning but other methods can help supplement the process.