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Approaches Table

Page history last edited by Emily Goligoski 11 years, 4 months ago

Approaches Table


This table is a snapshot of our collective intelligence and experience. We are NOT going to do very much theoretical reading about learning, design, or business strategy as a class. Instead, we are going to use our collected experiences as a starting point to ground our projects. The final product will be a resource for our entire class and for others as they think about the intersection of learning, design, technology, and business.


Assignment:  Please add an idea about learning from your experience so far at Stanford that will support our work this quarter. One way to start is to answer, "What is the most interesting article or idea about learning you have come across in your time at Stanford?"




Advocate/ Author and citation


Description about Learning


Ideas/implications for improving girls' education


Name and Date

"Zone of Proximal Development" 

Lev Vygotsky;

Vygotsky, L.V. Mind in Society: the development of higher psychological processes. edited by Michael Cole, et. al. Cambridge : Harvard University Press, 1978

- for all learners, there is a zone between what we are capable of achieving independently and what we can accomplish with assistance 

- design communal experiences that encourage/force interactions among learners at different levels

- create opportunities for personalized scaffolding to be a part of the experience (mobile devices with mobile scaffolding)

Dan Gilbert, February 29, 2012 

Perceptual learning with contrasting cases 

Biederman, I. & Shiffrar, M. Sexing Day-Old Chicks: A Case Study and Expert Systems Analysis of a Difficult Perceptual Learning-Task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition. 1987, Vol. 3, No. 4, pgs 640-645  

Visual tasks can be developed that highlights key differences between objects, leading to deeper structural learning. If done correctly, people can be rapidly moved from "novice" to "expert" level knowledge 

-when teaching differentiation, find one thing to highlight and set up with a contrasting case.
-importance and affordances of visualization in communicating ideas
-know what you want to teach and the best way to deliver that specific information

Jennifer Bundy, April 27, 2012  

..mathematics is an art  "A Mathematician's Lament" by Paul Lockhart, a first-class research mathematician who elected to devote his teaching career to K-!2 education   "Technique in mathematics, as in any art, should be learned in context. ..Give your students a good problem, let them struggle and get frustrated. See what they come up with. Wait until they are dying for an idea, then give them some technique. But not too much."

-choose engaging, natural problems suitable to their tastes, personalities, experience

-give them time to make discoveries and formulate conjectures

-be flexible and open to changes in direction from their curiosity 

June Ou April 28 
Service learning

Theoretical support from Dewey, Kolb and Freire 

Service-Learning: Theory and Rationale
Susan J. McAleavey, Director

Center for Public Policy and Service, Mesa Community College
Mesa, Arizona



A type of experiential learning which simultaneously provides meaningful service to the community and meaningful learning to the student. Key elements of a service learning program include: 

  • "Engages people in responsible and challenging actions for the common good.
  • Provides structured opportunities for people to reflect critically on their service experience.
  • Articulates clear service and learning goals for everyone involved.
  • Clarifies the responsibilities of each person and organization involved.
  • Includes training, supervision, monitoring, support, recognition and evaluation to meet service and learning goals.
  • Is committed to program participation by and with diverse populations"

-builds girls' sense of compassion and civic responsibility

-creates citizens who value giving back to the community

-enhances learning experience through hands-on activities

-develops critical thinking skills through structured reflection

-introduces girls to diverse populations and varied community problems

Kerri Thomsen

April 29, 2012

Growth Mindset

Dweck, C.S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.


Lehrer, J. (2011).  Why Do Some People Learn Faster?  Wired Magazine.  Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/10/why-do-some-people-learn-faster-2/

 Intelligence can be developed! 

“When students believe that they can develop their intelligence, they focus on doing just that.  Not worrying about how smart they will appear, they take on challenges and stick to them” (Dweck, 2006).

A "growth mindset" (vs. a "fixed mindset"), leads to a desire to learn and a tendency to:

- embrace challenges

- take risks

- persist in the face of setbacks

- see effort as a path to mastery

- learn from criticism

- find lessons and inspiration from the success of others


--> As a result, learners reach higher levels of achievement and have a greater sense of free will.

Joy Wong Daniels, April 30, 2012

Flavell, J. H., (1979) Metacognition and cognitive monitoring: A new area of cognitive–developmental inquiry. American Psychologist, 34, 906-911.

Brown, A. L., Campione, J., (1981) Learning to Learn: On Training Students to Learn from Text Educational Researcher, 10(2), 14-21.

Schoenfeld, A. H. (1992). Learning to think mathematically: Problem solving, metacognition, and sense-making in mathematics. In D. Grouws (Ed.), Handbook for Research on Mathematics Teaching and Learning (pp. 334-370). New York: MacMillan.



Learning to learn

Metacognition refers to "one's knowledge about one's own cognitive processes and anything relating to them". Brown et al's studies showed that in order to become flexible and effective learners, students must learn about their own cognitive characteristics, their available learning strategies, the demands of various learning tasks and the inherent structure of the material. In essence, they must tailor their cognitive activities finely to their goals in order to be successful at their learning endeavors. 

Metacognition involves three processes:

  • self-awareness - one’s knowledge about the self, what worked, why it worked and, what are the conditions that is most optimal for it to work
  • self-monitoring - monitor the implementation of a strategy, reflect on whether it is working well or not
  • self-control - ability to stop what one is currently pursuing for the purpose of self reflection and switch strategies if need be

Having self-awareness, and knowing what they know and what they don’t know give students a sense of control and intrinsic confidence that is more superior to confidence derived from external sources such as high test scores, superficial praises and excessive ego stroking. Furthermore, in order for students to take charge of their own learning, at a minimum, students should be aware of their learning, so as to be able to evaluate their goals, generate strategies to meet their goals, and to implement those strategies. 


Shannon Xue, April 30, 2012 
The Protege Effect 

Chase, C., Chin, D., Oppezzo, M., & Schwartz, D. (2009, 08 01). Teachable Agents and the Protégé Effect: Increasing the Effort Towards Learning. Journal of Science Education and Technology, pp. 334-352.


Retrieved from: 


Students using the same "game show" software to learn educational content were given two different metaphors: one group was told that the agent competing in the show on his behalf represented the student himself, the other group was told the agent was a character he had to teach.  This metaphor alone caused the "teaching" students to increase their effort in learning material so that they could teach their pupils more effectively. 

- Incorporate peer instruction/tutoring


- Design reciprocal teaching into a curriculum: students pair up and each has to teach one aspect of the material to the other


- Distance teaching where girls in a developing country use technology to instruct girls in the developed world


- "Pay it forward" peer teaching where students are told before they learn a new concept that they will have to teach it to a different group of students (perhaps remotely teach students in the next location in a chain, perhaps teach the incoming class of students, etc)

Alexis Hiniker, May 2 
Stereotype Threat 

Steele, C. M., & Aronson, J. (1995). Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African Americans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(5), 797-811. (http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/69/5/797.html)


Spencer, S. J., Steele, C. M., & Quinn, D. M. (1999). Stereotype threat and women’s math performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 35(4), 4–28. (http://www.leedsmet.ac.uk/carnegie/learning_resources/LAW_PGCHE/SteeleandQuinnStereotypeThreat.pdf) 

Stereotype threat is the fear of acting in a way that confirms negative stereotypes about one’s cultural group. There is evidence that this fear interferes with cognition, impairing academic performance in individuals belonging to groups stereotyped as being academically low-performing when they are reminded of this group membership.


African-Americans, for example, did significantly worse on a verbal test when they were told that the test was diagnostic of ability, and women who were told that females tended to perform badly on a particular math test themselves performed worse. 

There is mounting evidence that stereotype threat may be responsible for a significant portion of the gender gap in math and science. Countering stereotype threat can be as simple as having students affirm personally important values prior to exposure to the stereotype. It is also important, as much as possible, to avoid creating and perpetuating these stereotypes in the first place. Flooding girls with examples of female role models doing interesting work in these fields counters not only the belief that females can't do math and science, but also the perception girls often have that careers in math and science are not interesting or personally relevant. 

Heidi Williamson

May 2, 2012 

Understanding the nueroscience behind learning and attention

Cathy Davidson. Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. New York: Viking. 2011.

Much of what we consider attention--and where we focus is--can more accurately be explained as learning. Comparing nueron development in children is vital, but it's also important to consider the environmental impact of where their attention is directed (by adults, teachers, and peers).
Davidson describes young girls in various countries who had been labeled LD and describes their very unique characteristics (some of which, like needing to move or being able to describe things in minute detail, are not favored by their cultures). She's tried to work toward de-emphasizing their assessment-based "limitations" and encourage they and their families to understand their strengths and passions (in some cases, this has led young women to pursue PhDs and careers in dance that they might not have).
Emily Goligoski, May 2



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