The Miller Lecture: Ariel Anbar "Education Through Exploration: Reimagining Learning in a Digital Age"

April 20, 2018
3:00 pm
Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:00 p.m. The lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.

About the Miller Lecture

The department's Miller Lecture Series is designed to bring eminent geographers to Penn State and is a gift to the Department of Geography from the late E. Willard and Ruby S. Miller. E. W. Miller was a Professor of Geography, department head, and associate dean emeritus in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.


About the talk

Digital learning environments are being developed to meet the need for discovery-based and active learning at scale, enabling pedagogy that is interactive and adaptive to the learner as well as new modes of assessment. Building on the successes of tools and platforms such as the Khan Academy, Coursera, EdX, and PhET, the sophistication of interactivity, adapativity, and assessments continues to improve, driven by a combination of technological innovation and learning sciences research. This convergence creates new possibilities, but demands new approaches to the design of learning experiences.

We are developing a new model of digital learning design that we call “education through exploration” (ETX). ETX design, building on the research-based practices of active learning and guided inquiry, aims to inspire curiosity and to promote higher order thinking skills, in addition to content mastery. Students solve problems and actively discover relationships, supported by an intelligent tutoring system which provides immediate feedback and scaffolds scientific thinking and methods. The ETX model is facilitated by the development of authoring platforms for adaptive learning. These platforms also facilitate digital teaching networks of instructors paired with disciplinary experts and learning scientists working together to rapidly develop, evaluate, modify, distribute, and reuse digital learning experiences designed using the ETX model.

Here we present the first comparative evidence of the effectiveness of ETX designs for middle school, high school, and college learning audiences in Earth and space sciences, and case studies of the power of digital teaching networks to can expand their use.

About the speaker

Ariel Anbar is a scientist and educator focused on Earth's past and future evolution as an inhabited world, and the prospects for life beyond.

In science, Anbar’s research team develops novel geochemical methods to study topics ranging from Earth’s chemical evolution to human disease. Trained as a geologist and a chemist, Anbar is the author or co-author of over 100 refereed papers. He co-leads Arizona State University’s PlanetWorks initiative, which aims to help humanity learn how to manage Earth’s future and directed ASU's NASA-funded Astrobiology Program from 2009 – 2015.

In education, Anbar directs ASU’s Center for Education Through eXploration, which designs, creates, and evaluates digital learning experiences that embrace exploration of the unknown, not just mastery of the known, by sparking curiosity, teaching the skills of exploration, and motivating through discovery. In 2017 he was named one of 10 “teaching innovators” by the Chronicle of Higher Education for his innovative work in digital education.

Anbar is a President's Professor at ASU in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the School of Molecular Sciences, a Distinguished Sustainability Scholar in ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. A graduate of Harvard (A.B. 1989) and Caltech (Ph.D. 1996), he was honored as a Fellow of the Geochemical Society, the European Association of Geochemistry, and the Geological Society of America which awarded him the Donath Medal in 2002, and serves as President of the Biogeochemistry Section of the American Geophysical Union.


Angela Rogers - - 814-865-2493
Department of Geography