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  • David Belkin

"I learn better when I see Peter Griffin on the screen": The Case for Active Learning

Recently, there has been much talk at Binghamton University about the implementation of active learning. Students are tired of professors who lecture to them class after class, week after week, and then expect them to show some semblance of having paid attention during the semester. Active learning prevents students who would refuse to take notes twice a week during eighty-minute long lectures if their careers depended on it from getting “weeded out” by the ruthless academic system.

Active learning can take on many forms in the classroom. One is called the think-pair-share, where groups of two students each separate off to tacitly admit to not having paid any attention to lecture thus far, then plan on how to improvise an answer to the professor’s question without making their disinterest too obvious. Another is called role playing, where students look at a topic from the perspective of a character or person. “It’s a lot of fun to role-play in the classroom,” says Stew Dent, a freshman physics major and an advocate of active learning. “Yesterday in lecture, I role-played Idina Menzel discussing the physical ramifications of gravity. I said she would defy them.”

Proponents of active learning are seeking ways to incorporate mobile games into the classroom, similarly to how gameplay from such obscure and cheaply mobile games are often packaged below clips from the animated sitcom “Family Guy” whenever they are posted on TikTok or Instagram Reels. Quizno Studyfor, a senior majoring in business, expressed his interest in game-based learning: “I bet I can score so much higher than whoever they have playing the game with the poorly-animated CGI fruit and the rotating knife. Just tap the screen!- what’s so hard about that?”

At press time, professors who had adopted active learning into the classroom reported that their attendance rates remained as stagnant as they were before.

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