Welcome to a fragrant adventure where students will learn how to create either a relaxing or stimulating blend from authentic essential oils.
My vision is to empower the learner to create essential oil blends to change their mood, to safely use the essential oil blends in a diffuser, the bath, or via massage, and to adapt their knowledge to create blends with additional essential oils. My approach was to use Constructivism, Heutagogy, Connectivism, and Adventure Learning
The learner performs the designed tasks by leveraging Google Docs, Google+ Hangouts, Google Maps, Google Earth, Blog.com, Twitter, TED, and Bubbl.
Acquisition of knowledge occurs by learning history , vocabulary, and safety through narrated PowerPoints, watching a Youtube video on distillation, and by watching a TED video of a perfumer. They also observe plants, smell essential oils, and discover the areas of the world where essential oils are grown and distilled.
Meaning occurs by answering relevant questions, summarizing findings about the difference between a synthetic fragrance oil and an essential oil, recording findings about plant parts in a mind map, and Tweeting findings about local plants. Students also create a Google Map on essential oil growing areas, record reactions to essential oils, tweet blends to other students, and assess personal scent preferences.
Transfer occurs by finding actual plants, mindmapping a digital blend on Bubbl, and creating a hands-on essential oil blend in a bottle. Students also safely use a blend in a diffuser, in the bath, and via massage. They reflect on mood changes, blog about blends and their influence on mood, and successfully purchase essential oils on the Internet.
Because students often do not learn deeply by listening to a teacher or reading from a textbook, I mainly chose a constructivist approach. There were a few items that I addressed via Instructionism which I will note.
It was important to address the definition of an essential oil and basic vocabulary. An essential oil is a substance derived from steam distillation of various plant parts such as blossoms or leaves. There are hundreds of different types of essential oils such as Rose from blossoms and Eucalyptus from leaves. Students should be able to explain the meaning of an essential oil in their own words.
It was also important to address safety issues because essential oils are highly concentrated and must be handled with care and respect. Students should be able to interpret an authentic Manufacturer’s Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
Also there is a video to watch “on the science of scent” by perfume expert, Luca Turin, on TED. Students gain perspective by listening to and understanding another point of view to see the big picture.
“Constructivists stress the contextual nature of learning and argue that learning happens most effectively when the task and context are authentic and hold meaning for the learners (Anderson, 2008). Most of my learning events are constructivist.
Early on, I pose relevant questions to the student since “individuals construct knowledge that is dependent upon their individual and collective understandings, backgrounds, and proclivities” (Anderson, 2008). Students gain self-knowledge about their habits and beliefs about scent.
They evaluate when they have used natural versus synthetic scent in their lives. There is a difference between natural and artificial scent.
Natural scent is derived from blossom, flowering plant, leaf, needle, wood, bark, seed, peel, resin, rhizome, and root. Synthetic scent is created in a lab from chemicals.
Heutagogy “extends control to the learner and sees the learner as the major development and control agent in his or her own learning” (Hase & Kenyon, 2007).
In a hands-on exercise, Students can “choose to create either a relaxing or energizing essential oil blend based on their emotional state. They show meta-cognitive awareness through their choice.
They plan their essential oil blend digitally first using Bubbl which is a mindmapping Web 2.0 tool. They apply the techniques they have learned.
Finally, the student creates an essential oil blend (in a bottle) to relax or energize. The student is in control of her learning experience by choosing the type of blend to create, choosing the appropriate essential oils, and then creating the blend. She applies and transfers her knowledge by creating a working blend. The finished product is evaluated by the teacher by reading a Google Doc with essential oils used and number of drops, providing evidence of mastery of this skill.
The student applies her knowledge by adding the blend to a diffuser and using the correct number of drops. She can use the energizing blend during the day for productivity, and the relaxing blend at night for a peaceful sleep.
The student again applies her knowledge by adding the blend to a bath or shower and using the correct number of drops. An energizing blend is good for the shower, and a relaxing blend is good for the bath.
The student can apply her knowledge further by adding the blend to a carrier oil for a massage and using the correct number of drops. An energizing blend is perfect in the afternoon, and a relaxing blend is appropriate in the evening.
“We derive our competence from forming connections,” so I felt it was important to add elements from connectivism” (Anderson, 2008) through social networking via Twitter and Google+ Hangouts.
Students communicate via Twitter to answer questions about prior knowledge, to share blends, and to get feedback. They can adjust their blend based on this feedback.
They also use Google+ Hangouts to access scent preferences, conduct a brief interview, and recommend a blend for another student. They show that they can empathize with another.
Students reflect upon changes in mood. They document feelings that come up after using their Essential oil blend by recording results in a Google Doc and sharing it with the class. They keep on ongoing blog to record their blends to gain self-knowledge.
“Adventure learning (AL) is defined as an approach to the design of online and hybrid education that provides students with opportunities to explore real-world issues through authentic learning experiences within collaborative learning environments (Doering 2006, 2007). Students observe plants in nature or a botanical garden to incorporate Adventure Learning.
They record their findings by drawing a mindmap of plant parts and examples on Bubbl. They show the connections between plants in nature and essential oils and turn data into information.
They use Google Maps to create a custom map of essential oil producing areas such as France, Spain, and Madagascar. They make the data more accessible through these images, helping them to see the big picture.
To continue the adventure, students use Google Earth to visit actual distilleries around the world to connect them with a sense of where essential oils actually come from. They go beyond the unit to new places where they will make new discoveries.
To conclude, learning about essential oils lends itself to using the senses, specifically the senses of smell and touch. Studentsgain self-knowledge of their moods, are able to empathize with others, and get it touch with their own bodies.
Therapeutic essential oil blending presentation slide show
Therapeutic Essential Oil Blending: An Adventure in Scent Katherine GrafCopyright 2012 Katherine Graf
My Vision Constructivism Heutagogy Adventure Connectivism Learning
Emerging Technologies Google Google+ Google Docs Hangouts Maps Google Blog Twitter Earth Ted Bubbl