At the center of the threefold PEAR Lab approach is BIG Content + Applied Context. Rooted in John Dewey's vision of the continuity of nature, this BIG idea can be broken down into a handful of common educational and psychological practices (see related concepts and practices below). While our specific PEAR Lab model does integrate a multitude of concepts and practices, more simply, notion of BIG Content + Applied Context could also be summarized as BIG History + Service-Learning, yet drilling down into the idea, a multitude of concepts and practices emerge as strongly integrative to this approach.
Service-Learning projects revolve around connecting classroom content to an authentic community need... BIG History offers unparalleled opportunities to richly contextualize any and every such community need within a framework of scientific knowledge and dynamic change.
After diverse experimentation, our hallmark demonstration of this model is our work in the Democracy & Education study theme.
After a new set of donated laptop computers was stolen from our Educational Psychology department, students identified a need to create more accountability within their institution. After exploring the BIG History of the Democratic Brain - looking at multiple concepts from psychology, sociology, and political sciences over the various thresholds of BIG History, students have now crafted a proposal for committee-based democratic management of information technology resources at the University.