Countdown to VOICES, presenter profile #4 (Gary Grossman)

This post is the 4th in a series of brief profiles of people who will be presenting their work at VOICES, a first-of-its-kind online conference on using music to teach STEM, on Sept. 27-28, 2017.

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Gary Grossman would like to introduce himself as follows:

I am Professor of Animal Ecology in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia. I have published 120+ scientific publications on vertebrate ecology, behavior, evolution, and resource management. My research interests are diverse but all focus on population dynamics and behavioral adaptations used both within and among species, to survive in fluctuating environments. Most of my papers are available via my web site. I am very interested in communicating science to the public and have been a bimonthly columnist for American Angler magazine since 2009. Finally, a portion of my research efforts are devoted to developing innovative teaching methods for science courses, especially those involving music. Hobbies include writing and performing music on the ukulele, fishing, stone carving, gardening and running.

The title and abstract of Gary’s VOICES presentation are as follows:

USE OF ORIGINAL MUSIC VIDEOS AND STUDENT KARAOKE EXERCISES TO TEACH ECOLOGY/EVOLUTION
Since 2012 I have used music as a pedagogical method in ecology 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. This led to production of an ecology/evolution CD entitled Natural Voices. Questionnaire results indicated that the music videos significantly improved attitudes towards class and studying. I transformed this exercise into one involving active learning 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 the videos in five undergraduate and one graduate class and evaluated effectiveness via 10-14 question, Likert-scale questionnaires and triangulation interviews. Undergraduate classes were dominated by non-science majors in their first or second year. Simple analyses for all classes indicated there were significantly more positive responses than negative responses to various aspects of the exercise. Students showed little preference for the different aspects of the exercise (writing lyrics, singing, research, video production, etc.). The karaoke exercise had a strong positive impact on student’s perceptions and performance in class.

Gary is one of over 40 people who will present their ideas, insights, and investigations at VOICES. To have full access to all presenters and their presentations, please register for the conference. It’s only $10!

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