Embodied Learning: A Paradigm for Education, and Hopefully, for Immersive Education Technologies

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This is episode #6 of the podcast and it’s Thursday, the 25th of November 2021. In today’s show, I am talking to Dr. Mitchell J. Nathan, Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Learning Sciences in the Educational Psychology Department, Director of the MAGIC Lab, and a Fellow of the Teaching Academy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He studies how people think, teach, and learn, with special focus on the role that language and embodied processes play in understanding mathematics and engineering disciplines. His research explores the development of algebraic reasoning, expert blind spot in teaching, how cohesion processes support integrated STEM education, computer animation to support reading of mathematics story problems, and the embodied nature of mathematical intuition and geometric proof, with implications for the design of educational technology, teacher education and professional development, and student knowledge assessment.

Professor Nathan has authored over 200 peer-reviewed publications and has recently published a book ‘Foundations of Embodied Learning: A Paradigm for Education’ - which is the focus of this show. In his book, he advocates for a coherent evidence-based framework for how people learn. Starting with basic definitions of learning and the current state of the US education system, we address the central role that embodied learning plays in education and how can such an approach be measured.

In the second part of the show, we tackle issues related to the role of immersive technologies in reshaping learning and how it might be done. We wrap up the discussion touching on the important concepts of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and their relation to an embodied approach to learning. Here is the show.
Show Notes:

  • What is learning and what is the current state of the education system in the US (and elsewhere)
  • Embodied learning: a proposal for a coherent evidence-based framework for how people learn
  • Foundational theories at the core of the education system in the US and elsewhere: Information Processing Theory (definition, advantages and disadvantages)
  • The sensorial component: the role of the senses and their interconnections in this grounded and embodied learning approach
  • Assessment practices: how exactly can we measure embodied learning? Do we have the necessary tools?
  • Education technologies: role of immersive technologies in reshaping learning and how it might be done
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI): how do they relate to an embodied approach to learning

Other Notes:
Books and articles mentioned:

Mitchell J. Nathan. Foundations of Embodied Learning: A Paradigm for Education. Routledge. 2021.

Maxine McKinney de Royston, Carol D. Lee, Na'ilah Suad Nasir, and Roy Pea. Rethinking schools, rethinking learning. Phi Delta Kappan. 2020; 102(3):8-13.

For more information on Prof. Nathan’s book and research:

https://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-09017-7.html

https://www.routledge.com/Foundations-of-Embodied-Learning-A-Paradigm-for-Education/Nathan/p/book/9780367349769

Don’t miss the live conversation of Prof. Nathan’s book hosted by A Room of One's Own on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 - 6:00pm. Detailed information on how to join virtually can be found here:

https://www.roomofonesown.com/event/mitchell-nathan-author-foundations-embodied-learning-conversation-dr-martha-wagner-alibali

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