I would like to disagree with the statement that Globe is an example of anchored instruction. If you look at the definition of anchored instruction superficially, one would have to agree that Globe qualifies. However, I believe that on a deeper level Globe does not embody all of the qualities of anchored instruction that the Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (CGTV) had in mind when they created the Jasper series.
Anchored instruction is where “instruction is situated in engaging, problem-rich environments that allow sustained exploration by students and teachers” (CGTV, 1992, p. 65). Based on this description, Globe certainly seems to meet the requirements. It provides a very engaging, problem-rich environment, and due to its many facets (atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, pedosphere), sustained exploration can be attained. In addition, Globe provides an environment that allows communication between experts, students and teachers from diverse backgrounds, and this helps to build collective understanding. This is another important feature of anchored instruction.
Where Globe seems to diverge from anchored instruction is apparent when looking at the goals that CGTV had in mind when creating the Jasper series. CGTV’s aim was to help students learn to become independent thinkers and learners. They wanted students to learn to identify and define issues and problems on their own, in a generative fashion (CGTV, 1992). I would argue that students who participate in Globe, do not achieve this goal. The main activities in Globe centre around collection of data by students using a prescribed protocol that has been established by Globe researchers. This prescribed protocol is necessary to ensure that data collected by students is reliable and can be used by Globe researchers. I also took a look at some learning activities that students can perform. These documents provide teachers with a guide on how to introduce certain topics, gives step by step instructions on how to conduct the lesson, and possible ways to assess students on these activities. There seems to be a great deal of scaffolding in comparison to the Jasper series, which may hinder the notion of generative learning.
Overall, I believe that Globe is a very engaging community and does bring environmental science research close to home for students. I think that it is a very innovative endeavour and certainly has a place in STEM education. However, I cannot agree that it falls within the realm of anchored instruction.
Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (1992a). The Jasper experiment: An exploration of issues in learning and instructional design. Educational Technology, Research and Development, 40(1), 65-80