Movement and Understanding

While reading the Winn article (2003)I couldn’t help but think about the term symbiotic relationship to describe how learning occurs. Over the course of the term, we have inquired into the various frameworks to describe how educators can better prepare themselves to understand how students learn best. As Winn suggests, learning does not occur exclusively in the brain, but rather is the process of engaging the whole body (2003). I love this thought because it reminds me of how learning has evolved over the course of history, no longer must students sit in lecture style  seating to understanding what the expert at the front of the room has to say. Learning involves inquiring with our body and minds to understand connections and applications into real-world instances. According to Winn, “A student’s Umwelt is the environment as the student sees and knows it–a limited view of the real world, ever changing as the student explores it and comes to understand it” (p.12) When educators provide students with opportunities to experience with all their senses new experiences students are more engaged and motivated to involve themselves in learning what they are curious about. Therefore, educators may study various frameworks independently but when we understand learning to be a consolidation of how the brain and body are involved in learning do we come to understand this framework.

Roschelle et al. article “Handheld tools that ‘Informate’ assessment of student learning in Science” article they bring up a good discussion about the inconsistency of how assessment is defined across educators. The importance of providing current formative feedback for students is critical in the cycle of learning, so that students can revisit misconceptions and re-learn concepts. By using handheld technology students will be better able to access and incorporate feedback into their learning rather than waiting until the summative assignment is returned, only to find out it is too late to demonstrate their understanding authentically.

Finally, Novack’s article “From action to abstraction:Using the hands to learn math” we learn that utilizing gestures in learning outperforms actions in the classroom. By involving the body into the learning process we see that students are better able to retain information and make valuable connections that provide longevity in their understanding. The connection between Winn’s article and Novack’s research are exciting and hopefully more teachers are aware of the research in the benefits to get kids moving in order to understand better.


My questions for this week include the following:

  • Assessment: How do educators ensure that through the use of handheld devices students are actually reading feedback in a timely manner that is user friendly?
  • What support systems exist for educators to collaborate with physical education teachers to teach mathematical and science concepts for students in a K-12 system?




  • Roschelle, J; Penuel, W.; Yarnall, L; Shechtman, N; Tatar, D. (2005). Handheld tools that ‘Informate’ assessment of student learning in science: A requirements analysis. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 21(3), pp. 190-203.
  • Novack, M. A., Congdon, E. L., Hemani-Lopez, N., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2014). From action to abstraction: Using the hands to learn math. Psychological Science, 25(4), 903-910.
  • Winn, W. (2003). Learning in artificial environments: Embodiment, embeddedness, and dynamic adaptation. Technology, Instruction, Cognition and Learning, 1(1), 87-114.


  1. Hi Cristina,

    Great post!

    In regards to your first question about how to ensure students are reading feedback, I think consistency is key. For example, the school I teach at is a Google school and so we utilize an LMS called Google Classroom. This LMS works seamlessly with Drive and Gmail so if I provide feedback on an assignment, it instantly sends the student an email. Further, as they log into my classroom, they are provided a notification that there is feedback waiting for them to review. The consistency part is when speaking with students, constantly referring back to the feedback that was provided through the LMS so they know it is important. It is something that has worked well for me.


    1. Hi Baljeet!

      I’ve used google classroom and love it! I find it is a great way to have open and consistent communication with students (grade 5) both to provide information and clarification for any work or assignments being done in the classroom. I like that learning no longer is confined to a 8-3pm schedule. However, my only concern is how does google let educators know if students have not only received but opened their emails and notifications. Often while helping students in the class, they would have their email accounts open and many of my comments, etc. were not opened or read yet. I know that this is something I needed to do a better job at while facilitating discussions around feedback, but it would be great to have analytics available to let me know who has and has not read the notifications. Perhaps this is available and I just don’t know how to use it!


    2. Hi to both,

      Also, a question that can be raised is, “How do you know the student will even read the feedback?” It’s great that they receive an email stating there’s feedback waiting for them to review, but I have a feeling more times than not the student will overlook this or just be too lazy to open it. I currently use Edmodo for my grade 11 English class for summer school and they’ve just introduced a new tool. Once I provide feedback to a student electronically, I receive a receipt stating that the student has read my feedback. It does wonders. I think all electronic forms of assessment should include this.

  2. Hi,

    In response to your question…

    “What support systems exist for educators to collaborate with physical education teachers to teach mathematical and science concepts for students in a K-12 system?”

    A few years ago my school was studying UDL and though our PLC each grade level selected a math concepts and was given planning time with both the music and gym teacher to create experiences that connected the classroom to specialty classes. It was a great experience but it required support in terms of co-teaching which can be expensive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *