Karaoke as a Form of Active Learning in STEM

Presented by
Gary D. Grossman, Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, University of Georgia

Since 2012 I have used music as a pedagogical method in fisheries/natural resource classes. I began by writing and performing songs based on class materials including concepts, habitats, and species' biology and posting these videos on the web. Questionnaire results indicated that the music videos significantly improved attitudes towards class and studying. I transformed this exercise into an active learning exercise by having students make their own karaoke video. Students had to write the lyrics and sing/rap them but could use video and music from the web for their videos. I have used this assignment in six undergraduate and two graduate classes and evaluated effectiveness via Likert-scale questionnaires and triangulation interviews. Undergraduate classes were dominated by non-science majors in their first or second year. Students in all classes had strong positive reactions to the project Triangulation interviews from all classes were strongly positive and students generally found the exercise was: 1) new, 2) creative, 3) facilitated deeper learning, and 4) was enjoyable. This is one of the first studies to demonstrate strong positive student responses to an inquiry-based, music-based exercise over courses ranging from first-year to graduate seminars.