The English Oxford Dictionary defines an experimenter as a person who “tries out new ideas, methods and activities”. Experimenters are adventurers, path finders, seekers; they are inquisitive and have “an openness to try, reflect & learn from new approaches, pedagogy and technologies to support student learning” (Bates 2014).
Did you ever convince yourself that you would not like a certain type of food because of the way it looked? Only to find out that once you experimented with trying it you really enjoyed eating it and now cannot imagine your life without it.
Think back to the last time you were hosting a party or an event at your residence. In addition to organizing the menu, a guest list also had to be created. Maybe you flip-flopped back and forth about who to invite and who not to invite. You were not sure if that guest would get along with that other guest. In the end, you experimented with inviting different people and everyone got along smashingly! #bestfriendsforever
What about that time your friend encouraged you to go without something? Maybe you eliminated carbs or sugar from your diet? Maybe you stopped buying material items unconsciously? Or did you forego a trip that you were wanting to take because of the impact it might cause on the environment? It is during these times that you are experimenting with different lifestyle choices!
In each of the above examples, had you not experimented with trying new ways of doing things you might not have ever known what could be possible.
Experimenting in teaching and learning with different content delivery modes and pedagogical approaches can help to re-invigorate a love of teaching and spark further creativity and concept attainment in learning experiences for students. As well, experimenting with limited tools can expose issues of accessibility for students. This can lead to new creative strategies in teaching that considers the experience of students from all intersections of identity. While the majority of teachers and administrators recognize that educational technology can accelerate student learning opportunities, a recent survey finds that 39 percent of school staff do not have training or “adequate learning opportunities” to adopt ed tech solutions in the classroom. Thus, the experimenter module encourages you to freely experiment as a means of providing those “adequate learning opportunities” for the adoption of educational technology.
It is not necessary for you to do any of the other modules before doing this one. This module can be explored in any relationship to the others. The Experimenter Module is designed to integrate elements of being a scholar, and curating while collaborating in a network, who teaches for learning, using technology. Experimenting weaves throughout all of our work and it does not stop with technology driven teaching strategies! For instance, beyond this module you could experiment with different assessment techniques. Wouldn’t it be great to find new ways of assessing students to lessen their focus on a grade to the detriment of learning?
Accessibility: “is a general term used to describe the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to be used by all intended audiences.”
Here are some resources on how you can experiment with your pedagogy to become more accessible to all students: