Students vs the World

Upon closer examination and re-reading certain articles, I do believe that Globe is an example of anchored instruction.  Anchored instruction, also known as instructional design, includes engaging and problem rich environments that allow learners to understand the how, why and when to use different concepts and strategies (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1992). Although Globe doesn’t necessarily have an ‘anchor’ or ‘story’ such as in the Jasper series, what Globe does have are tools and learning activities to help solve an anchor in a student’s interest.

What I mean is, is that a student can have an interest in either of the Globes 4 spheres: Atmosphere, Biosphere, Hydrosphere, and Pedosphere (Soil), and thus in turn will produce its own story. For example, let’s take the Hydrosphere. A student could be concerned with the chemicals leaking into his/her nearby river and would like to find the toxins in it and learn how to solve this problem. The ‘anchor’ could be the polluted water and Globe will help with the data collection and necessary tools to use for the student. Another tool for the student to use is the professional help of a scientist. After all, Butler and MacGregor (2003) state that, “An important part of the program is the active participation of scientists as research collaborators with the students” (p. 9). The collection of data is an integral function for Globe to work and succeed and according to Ou and Zang (2006), many teachers complain about the lack of time and skills from integrating databases into their classroom instruction.

With Globe, everything is at your fingertips: learning activities, data collection sources and tools and the help of real life scientists. Does Globe have problem solving videos like Jasper? No. Does Globe foster collaborative inquiry and learning? Yes. The downfall I see with Globe is that its tools are not just tools online, but tools you need to purchase or find in your home. Math and science real-world problems apply here with Globe, and this is one of the characteristics in anchored instruction. Will Globe produce problem solving videos? Maybe, but I think this would stray away from its premise, and that is for students to contribute their own live data and help solve real-world problems.


Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1992). The Jasper experiment: An exploration of issues in learning and instructional design. Educational Technology Research and Development40, 65-80.

Butler, D. M., & MacGregor, I. D. (2003). GLOBE: Science and education. Journal of Geoscience Education51(1), 9-20.

Ou, C., & Zhang, K. (2006). Begin with the Internet. TechTrends50(5), 46-51.


  1. Hi Sean,

    I also feel that the flexibility of GLOBE allows for students to contribute their own data to solve authentic problems, as you stated, and provides opportunities for students to pursue their own individual interests within one of the four spheres. One of the aspects of Jasper that benefited student learning and engagement was the way in which the videos posed a problem, and therefore a basic framework, for the students to focus and organize around. With this in mind, do you feel that perhaps Jasper and GLOBE are suited to different ranges of grade levels, or that both could be effectively utilized in different grade groupings?

    1. Hi Allen,

      Great question. I believe that Jasper and Globe are both suited for all grade levels. With Jasper, yes the videos pose a problem but they can be adapted to younger and older grades respectively. If this means omitting certain parts of the video, or have Jasper create videos for different age groups in mind. With Globe, any student can be taught how to take measurements and record their own data. It’s up to the teacher to help facilitate or teach to this.

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