Embodied learning involves the whole body when learning and constructing knowledge. Embodiment means that states of the body, such as arm movements, arise during social interaction and play central roles in social information processing (Barsalou, 2003). Numerous studies have shown that body movements and embodied learning can have substantive positive effects on children’s cognition, learning, and academic achievement (Chandler & Tricot, 2015). Anderson (2003) explains that Embodied Cognition is learning that results from interactions with our environment. In primary grades, students count with their fingers, use number blocks, and manipulativew, to develop basic number sense.
As I was reading the articles, I continued to connect this to STEM activities in the classroom. In a lot of STEM challenges, students are building, tinkering, and making, using their hands. We often interact with nature for science, whether it be nature walks, documenting ideas in our science journals or on the iPad, or doing experiments. From my experience, I have found that students retain more information and can share evidence of their learning when it is connected to a hands-on, interactive project or lesson.
I also connected these articles to Osmo game sets for the iPads. I recently adopted this in my classroom for math rotations. I think that incorporating Osmo into a math program is an example of a learning activity that incorporates motion activity and digital technologies. Osmo is a gaming accessory for the iPad. It includes a base, reflective mirror, and tangible pieces. It creates a hands-on learning experience paired with technology. The learner interacts with the pieces and the iPad, an example of motion activity and embodied learning. Osmo is intended for children aged 6-12. Students love using it because of its game-based learning style. “Researchers agree that the use of manipulatives in mathematics increases mathematics achievement and plays a large part in student learning, understanding, and conceptualization of simple to complex concepts” (Boggan, Harper, & Whitmire, 2010).
Questions I am left with…
Is embodied learning as effective for students who can’t control their body?
How can we provide more embodiment during math instruction, not just in activities?
Barsalou, L. W. (2003). The psychology of learning and motivation: Psychology of learning and motivation volume 43 social embodiment.43C, 43. doi:10.1016/S0079-7421(03)01011-9
Boggan, M., Harper, S., & Whitmire, A. (2010). Using manipulatives to teach elementary Mathematics. Journal of Instructional Pedagogies. Retrieved from http://www.aabri.com/manuscripts/10451.pdf
Chandler, P., Paul Chandler, & André Tricot. (09/01/2015). Educational psychology review: Mind your body: The essential role of body movements in children’s learning Springer. doi:10.1007/s10648-015-9333-3