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Pedagogical Effectiveness of Classroom Demonstrations Devices

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Active Learning Methods in Action

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Tom McCormick Virginia Military Institute

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30 Years of service with the US Army. Retired as COL.
37 Years of services with the Federal Goverment. Retired as a Senior Excutive. Sevred as a sytems enginner. Focued on special operations and counterterrorism.
Currently teaching Electrical Enginerring at VMI.

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James C. Squire Virginia Military Institute

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James Squire is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Virginia Military Institute. Dr. Squire received a B.S. from the United States Military Academy and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was awarded a Bronze Star in the Army during Desert Storm and was selected as Virginia’s Rising Star professor in 2004. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Massachusetts and Virginia and maintains an active consulting practice.

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Gerald Sullivan P.E. Virginia Military Institute

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Dr. Gerald Sullivan, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Virginia Military Institute, received his B.S.M.E. from the University of Vermont and his Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has held teaching positions at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and the University of Vermont. Prior to joining the faculty at the Virginia Military Institute in the fall of 2004, he was employed by JMAR Inc. where he was involved in research and development of X-ray lithography systems for the semiconductor industry. His interests include mechanical design, acoustics applications and controls.

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Classroom demonstrations have been shown to enhance student learning retention by providing greater intellectual stimulation when compared to lecture-only presentations. [Bradford 2000, Klosky 2002, Morgan 2007] Yet, comparatively little research has been conducted to determine the presentation type and style that is most effective in pedagogical demonstrations. This investigation builds upon previous work which counterintuitively found that crudely-built demonstrations devices tend to confer greater learning retention than similar professionally built devices. [Squire 2009] Specifically, we sought to determine how preference for crudely vs. professionally-built demonstrations changed with academic maturity. The current study employed a larger population of students pursuing an undergraduate degree in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in a two by two grid of experimental groups. The rows refer to whether the students were in their freshman or sophomore years, and the columns refer to whether the students were taught using the crudely-built or professionally-built demonstrations. The results of the investigation revealed that both year groups experienced greater learning retention when the low-cost, homemade demonstrator was employed when compared to the professionally manufactured demonstrator. The results also show no significant difference in learning retention between year groups.

McCormick, T., & Squire, J. C., & Sullivan, G. (2018, June), Pedagogical Effectiveness of Classroom Demonstrations Devices Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30863

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