Learn by Doing

This week we remember John Dewey, who was born on October 20, 1859.  The American philosopher and psychologist is considered one of the most influential education reformers of the twentieth century.

Before Dewey’s time, America’s educational system consisted of students sitting in classrooms and listening passively to teachers.  They were taught facts and formulas, and were graded by how well they memorized them.

Dewey argued instead that students should learn from hands-on experience.  He believed that knowledge does not result from passively observing the world, but from interacting with it.  Education is a life-long process that results from self-guided activity and manipulating one’s environment.

Dewey pioneered the concept of hands-on learning through trial and error that is now prevalent in schools around the world.  He also wrote about philosophy, psychology and social reform.

Today, Agilent supports programs that increase student interest and achievement in science education.  Agilent After School is a hands-on science program targeted at children from the ages of 9 to 13 years.  Materials include life, physical and earth-science experiments that have been designed as complete “programs-in-a-box.”

Agilent After School science kits contain complete materials for children to build experiments such as electronic-circuit games, balloon-powered cars, clean water engineering and more. Agilent employee volunteers and university science student partners are provided with tools to lead the younger students through the various science experiments.  Agilent After School can be implemented in a school setting, or in non-traditional venues such as community centers, museums, hospitals or non-governmental organizations.

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