I go back to Zotarah Shepherd’s educational build in Koru fairly often, it’s a great place to think about immersive educational experiences. The build is a 3-D representation of Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences. The theory is set out very simply, with an area for each kind of intelligence. In each area you’ll find an activity that replicates the quality Zotarah is studying; here you can see Ellie taking a little yoga break in the kinesthetic area. Ellie is relaxing, and she’s trying to get in touch with her digital body. In watching her, I reflect on my relationship with my actual body. This has a strongly calming effect for me
Ellie also enjoyed the musical intelligence area, as you can see. I find it very stimulating to watch her play the steel drums, and to think about how I’d like to express myself musically. After watching Ellie participate in an activity like this, I’m much more likely to go downstairs and plunk something out on our old piano.
If, as Gardner argued, human cognition is a blend of intelligences, we should be designing our builds to engage our students through as many different approaches as possible. For example, Ellie wasn’t at all interested in the mathematical/logical area. She tends to run away screaming at the sight of sudoku boards. She might have been enticed in, however, if there had been a connection made with the musical area next door. Zotarah might think of including a musical/mathematical exercise — for example, a set of prims which emit a musical tone corresponding with their size. The prims could be used to teach mathematical relationships.
Zotarah is always changing the Koru exhibit. Perhaps the next step would be to adapt it to explain the connections between the different kinds of intelligence. She might even build bridging areas — I’d particularly like to see the connection made between naturalistic and literary intelligence. I think the naturalistic intelligence area is the weakest area in the build, because it doesn’t have a separate sound track. You should have the feeling of entering a separate space in that area, and you don’t. If a bridging area were added, containing a soundtrack with more intensive natural sounds and an effective poetry reading, that might be a really powerful experience.
I always say the best way to learn about teaching is to take a class from someone. The best way to learn to design 3-D teaching tools is to take lessons through tools others have built. Zotarah’s build offers a lot of food for thought; there are many ideas here that I want to incorporate in my own design of educational environments.