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Life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson


Embrace experimentation: Introduction

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The English Oxford Dictionary defines an experimenter as “a person who tries out new ideas, methods, or activities”[1]. Experimenters are adventurers, path finders, seekers; they are inquisitive and have “an openness to try, reflect, and learn from new approaches, pedagogy, and technologies to support student learning” (Bates, 2014)[2].
Have you ever convinced 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 home. In addition to organising 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 never have known what could be possible.


Experimenting in learning and teaching

In learning and teaching, experimenting 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. While the majority of teachers and administrators recognise that educational technology can accelerate learning opportunities, a survey in 2019[3] found 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 Extend NZ 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; 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?