Poster Presentation at the Next Generation Scholars Research Fair

I presented my poster on mechanical behavior of pharmaceutical materials to 7th and 8th grade students at the Next Generation Scholars Research Fair. It was an interesting experience to interact with enthusiastic young people and talk about the science behind the tablets and pills we take.

Each student made a business card onto which we, the presenters, were supposed to write a grade (0 to 5) based on their interest and engagement–a surprising approach to promote student involvement. I told the teachers that everyone would get a 5 from me. Then, I did a little experiment. For the first students, I waited until the end of the presentation to show them that I had given them all 5. For the rest, I let them see that I gave them 5 before they start asking questions or listening to me. When I gave them their grade before the presentation they were much more engaged and asked a wide range of questions. On the other hand, when I did the grading later, the student interest was limited to standing and listening.

My findings reminded me of the candle problem created by Karl Duncker. The students’ ability to interact was similarly suppressed by the stress of being graded. Accordingly, I decided to use the inevitable assessment as a tool for social bonding, and it worked. Initially graded students asked more questions, were more engaged, and appeared to be enjoying themselves, while also learning more about my topic.

The need for change in education philosophy and learning paradigms is critical. I believe in the necessity of designing an open learning platform that augments, rather than suppresses, students’ creativity.

Posted 6th December 2012 by Ozgur Keles

Categories: Uncategorized