Added: Tyesha Boyle - Date: 09.01.2022 16:28 - Views: 33374 - Clicks: 2216
An undergraduate student who hopes to secure meaningful work or pursue graduate studies needs to have excellent grades. This is true for all disciplines, but especially for niche fields like archaeology. Grades alone, however, are rarely enough. Thus, the undergraduate student who is looking beyond graduation must strive to gain these experiences and differentiate themselves from their peers. The following essay highlights the role experimental and experiential archaeology hereby referred to as EA can play in helping students make the most of their university education and prepare themselves for the challenges beyond university.
Over the past several years working as an archaeology professor at the State University of New York at Potsdam USA , I have noticed that our most successful graduates are those who actively engage in archaeological learning experiences both in and outside of the regular coursework. These added experiences are the basis of a not-so-secret formula for success: G.
The following essay explores the importance of EA in generating student enthusiasm, providing them with G. Scholars have long recognized the pedagogical value of experimental archaeology. Eren highlights the synergy of EA in archaeological education. According to Schindler, this pedagogical strategy challenges students to learn using all their senses as they learn by doing. Clarkson and Shipton highlight how this pedagogical approach in high impact learning as students develop their analytical skills while gaining a greater understanding of the subject matter.
Many of the insights these scholars put forth are reflected in this essay. According to Freire, this approach to education fails to reach students and it reinforces an unequal power dynamic within the classroom. As a result, many students tend to struggle and remain uninspired. According to the State University of New York , applied learning involves:.
Proponents of applied learning argue that learning by doing provides a deeper understanding of the subject matter. At the same time, students obtain marketable skills. Furthermore, this approach involves students collaborating as equal participants in the creation and exchange of knowledge. EA is applied learning at its best.
These activities can take students out of the classroom so that they can actually apply the skills, theories and models presented in traditional lectures. EA can be deployed in a variety of different pedagogical contexts. By scaling activities accordingly, professors can develop lessons encompassed within a single class or an entire semester. Doing so allows time to introduce the topic and discuss the reading during one week while using extended hands-on activities to reinforce the thematic focus during the following week.
For example, conversations about ancient cooking strategies are complemented by a lesson in stone boiling. Students develop hypotheses about the efficacy of different types of stones and the length of time needed to boil. They then test their hypotheses by cooking an extra-large pumpkin utilizing this technology See Figure 1. Additionally, students must assess the archaeological ature of the activity. This in-depth and highly effective activity, which enables students to deeply understand the subtleties of ancient cooking technologies, takes place within the time frame of a single class period.
I teach an upper division course in Experimental Archaeology, whereby we explore a specific topic as a means to introduce students to the scientific method and to a range of ancient tool manufacturing techniques. During one semester, the course was centered on the creation of a dugout canoe. Students learned how to conduct a research project using experimental archaeology while participating in a study exploring the amount of fuel wood needed to burn out a 16ft. On the last day of the semester, the students launched and paddled the canoe. Beyond boat-building, the students gained experience testing the limits of ground stone tools and fire for shaping wood.
They also learned to overcome adversity as this project required them to work in close proximity to fire in the summer heat and rain. In both of these examples, EA provided a way for students to engage with course materials using an applied learning approach. Students seem to more easily absorb and enjoy information presented in this manner. For many students, this le to improved performance and higher grade-point averages on labs and tests.
Honours theses and independent studies provide added value to a university education. These high impact learning experiences demonstrate to a graduate admissions committee that the applicant is ready to take on the rigors of graduate school. EA provides a way for students to fully navigate the research process. These steps include:. Students interested in conducting independent research are encouraged to choose a topic that intrigues them.
Through consultation with faculty, students then work towards developing a valid research question. For instance, Julia was interested in human osteology and ancient crematory practices. Her work intended to identify which types of bone have the greatest potential to survive the cremation process and in what ways does cremation affect bone morphology? EA then enabled this student to develop a methodology which allowed her to answer these questions. Using two lb fully intact pigs Sus scrofa domesticus as proxy, Julia established two funerary pyres according to techniques common amongst traditional societies in the northern latitudes See Figure 2.
The data collection portion of the study involved identifying, measuring and weighing the calcined bone in each pyre. She then compared findings from each pyre to arrive at her conclusions. Dissemination of findings is the final step in the research process. This step provides students with a sense of accomplishment and an impressive entry on their .
Moreover, it also gives them important professional experience, including attending and delivering presentations at professional conferences. Students should also seek out opportunities to publish their work. Students need experience volunteering with experts and learning about different topics and technologies. Every fall, students attend practice twice a week as they gear up for the annual Atlatl Battle.
This activity builds community in our student population. It also serves as a way to reinforce topics presented in class. But most importantly, the students have fun. Being involved with the atlatl team also has intellectual benefits. Many students exchange different questions and ideas about how, when and why different ancient people used this ancient weapons system. As a student learns, they are then able to identify potential questions to pursue as part of a research agenda. Experiential approaches also provide insight into how best to structure controlled experiments needed to answer rigorous research oriented questions.
The dissemination of information is critical to archaeological practice. As undergraduates, students need experience engaging the public in and out of the classroom. EA has an unparalleled ability to connect the past with the present, the public with academics, and teachers with students. The following details two different approaches deed to provide students with different types of teaching experience.
Archaeological Studies majors need to take Introduction to Archaeology. Each year faculty invite several of our advanced undergraduate students to serve as teaching assistants for this course. The teaching assistant experience is intended to instruct these students on pedagogical strategies that they then apply on a weekly basis.
Developing TA labs usually takes most of the semester. During weekly meetings, we first discuss formulating learning outcomes. For example, one TA, interested in historical archaeology, wanted her students to assess whether or not the damage present on 19th century ceramic sherds could be identified and linked to a specific behavior i.
Once a research question was established, the TAs then needed to develop a methodology which will allow their students to test the hypothesis. The first station involved students dropping saucers and cups from waist height onto a stone floor. At the trampling station, several saucers and plates were buried in a loose matrix of sediment. The students then walked across the surface for a standard length of time.
At the third post, students repeatedly heated tea cups at degrees Fahrenheit and then submerged them in ice-water. In regards to the 19th century ceramic taphonomy lab, after working at each station, the students are charged with describing the damage to each assemblage. Using this information, the students attempted to classify an assemblage of unknown archaeological specimens. The students quickly realize that they can, with a fair degree of confidence, identify some of the unknowns but other specimens require more work.
The final step in this process involves establishing assessment tools. The TA determines the sorts of questions or asments which will best assess student learning. Often these involve essay responses, presentations and drawings. After the lab, the TA then grades the student labs.
This process allows them to evaluate learning, and it also forces them to critically assess their own work and how to improve their activities and assessment tools. At the end of term, each TA must deliver a critical evaluation of their lab along with recommendations for improvement.
The TA lab has proven a successful asment for advanced undergraduate students. First, it provides a way for the TAs to gain experience in all aspects of developing an effective hands-on applied learning lesson plan. It also demonstrates the value of experimental archaeology to their students. Lastly, as discussed above, it provides the students with an engaging pedagogical approach. Knowledge created in the classroom need not stay in the classroom.
In fact, by sharing the of their EA research, students gain valuable experience working with the public. In return, the public often enjoys hearing and learning of these projects. For this reason, museums often incorporate EA practitioners into their displays.
The upper division Experimental Archaeology course, discussed above, exemplifies this approach. This class culminates in a thematically focused class project that changes each semester.College professor looking for experimental student
email: [email protected] - phone:(159) 430-3679 x 9723