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Teaching Ants

5 minute presentation on my metaphor re: learning, motivation & engagement in the classroom environment.

Nicole King

on 10 May 2012

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Transcript of Teaching Ants

ANTS METAPHOR Sounds crazy?... I know... let me TRY to explain A Presentation by Nicole King Both teachers and their students are like ants... Sounds crazy?... I know I know... Let me try to explain Learning Studies indicate that some ants take on the role of teacher and transmit knowledge to their students - the teacher will actually adjust their pace depending on the learners needs. Ants actually teach each other and learn! It may look like ants are all the same but this is not true! ...and of course they all learn as they develop, get better as they go along and it's not always easy! Heres something interesting... According to Witte, Schliessmann & Hashim (2010) ants come to very quick adaptive decisions. When there is a lack of information, ants behave differently according to experience. This supports some of the readings from this course which suggest that learning is influenced by past experience and it certainly starts long before the student (or hungry ant) enters the classroom. Motivation Ants are motivated intrinsically (sense of effectiveness) and extrinsically (FOOD!) Friederici & Menzel (1999) found that ants negotiate their way through cluttered environments, integrate their paths by referring to external compass cues, and adapt their special behaviour in context-dependent ways to their actual needs. Food appears to be the most favoured reward for the ant, however the acquisition of this reward can sometimes be difficult! Huang, Heutte & Loog (2007) suggest that many ants have trouble in understanding what they should do at the beginning. Even when the task is being fulfilled smoothly, there are still idle and naughty individuals. So, not everyone can get positive rewards Engagement In order for ants to be engaged, like humans, they require the use of technologies such as the internet, creative software, and blogging... ok not really! There has been some interesting research to suggest that engagement has an impact on ants learning: Schneirla (Barnard, 1999) tested the maze-learning ability of ants by having the ants nest as the starting point and food in a goal box as the finish. During trips from the nest to the food, ants showed little signs of learning the maze. If the maze was reversed so that ants carried food back to the nest, they learnt very quickly. The ants’ maze-learning ability thus depended on their motivational state and their likely engagement in the task. Classroom The classroom in this metaphor can be likened to the ant hill This is where the hard word happens plus the fun and oh of course - the learning! Ants in fact have many ways of communicating including the use of chemicals, vibrations and touch. You can see the links right? Ants may not entirely operate like us (if at all), however they do make for a totally random metaphor about teacher, learning, motivation and all that fun stuff!

I hope you enjoyed the presentation and learnt some random facts along the way :) Oh and don't forget... Ants can achieve great things! According to Huang, Heutte & Loog (2007) many ants have trouble in understanding what they should do at the beginning. Even when the task is being fulfilled smoothly, there are still idle and naughty individuals. So, not everyone can get positive rewards. In the ant hill the ants have countless interactions with one another. They learn to communicate with each other and operate within a social hierarchy. If we look at all of these interesting facts at a high level...
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