Strategies for Designing Embodied Curriculum

Sasha A. Barab, Tyler Dodge

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Scopus citations


This chapter provides a conceptual framework related to designing for situational embodiment; discusses three types of curricular designs, ranging from designed and emergent simulation models to participation models; and overviews various strategies for achieving each design, including examples from the literature. Specifically, we discuss designed simulation models (e.g., anchored instruction, problem-based learning, and cognitive apprenticeship); emergent simulation models (e.g., case-based reasoning, project-based learning, and classroom learning communities); and participation models (e.g., participatory simulations, academic play spaces, and communities of practice). Looking across the different examples, we also discern tensions that emerge in working toward curricular embodiment- namely, tensions concerning the quality of the context (noisy vs. tailored) and the quality of the formalisms (explicit vs. implicit).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology, Third Edition
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781135596910
ISBN (Print)9780203880869
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Authenticity: Learner-perceived relations between the associated practices and one’s projected or envisioned use value of those practices.
  • Formalism: The formal structure and abstract principles that underlie the conceptual framework of the content area; for example, the concept of erosion is a formalism in science, division is a formalism in mathematics, and metaphor is a type of formalism in language arts
  • Participation models of authenticity: Models that establish a sense of authenticity by engaging learners in the authentic practices as they work on realworld tasks as part of authentic communities and in contexts that value the outcomes of those tasks.
  • Simulation models of authenticity: Models that build upon the assumption that classroom activity should be made to resemble as much as possible the activities in which real-world practitioners engage.
  • Situational embodiment: When to-be-learned content is experienced in relation to a particular context of use that provides legitimacy to the content and student actions and a meaningful goal and set of actions for the learner and on which learner actions have some consequence.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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