Jasper is name of a video learning series that uses anchored instruction as a means to promote and integrate mathematical instruction in early to middle school. The underlying theoretical framework for Jasper is based on the goals of the AAAS and NCTM (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1992), where students are to become strong, independent thinkers with solid problem solving skills. Jasper tries to accomplish this by presenting students with authentic and engaging video stories that involve real life situations. Students are asked to watch the videos and solve problems that are posed at the end. The information required to solve the problems is embedded in the videos, and the problems are posed such that multiple solutions with varying degrees of complexity are present.
I find the whole idea of Jasper to be extremely interesting and likely to be of high education value. By embedding realistic scenarios that are not based upon career choices or employment (as seemingly desired by the public in today’s media), Jasper promotes the idea that math is not just about work or future careers that only a few students will embark upon. As well, the Jasper problem based learning is based on an authentic situational perspective, which is a drastic improvement over psuedoteaching contexts which are presented in contemporary math textbooks.
I am not sure how a TELE such as Jasper can be used for wide implementation, given the resources required to develop and produce a video based curriculum package. Certainly it would be impossible for local implementations to reach the level of production of Jasper. The curriculum requirements in local jurisdictions may be incompatible with Jasper, or more likely, the Jasper series may be difficult to insert into curriculums that share some goals but differ on others. Perhaps tools like Jasper can be used as year-end cornerstone projects. While this may promote problem solving, it does little to address the concept of learning new ideas in anchored instruction. In terms of designing a TELE like Jasper, I think it would be extremely difficult. A more likely scenario would be one in which smaller video segments are produced to deliver an authentic learning experience, but this would remove some of the holistic characteristics of Jasper. Furthermore, as the complexity in maths increases through high school, I believe that the ability to embed curriculum in a TELE would become extremely difficult, if not impossible.
Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1992). The Jasper experiment: An exploration of issues in learning and instructional design. Educational Technology Research and Development, 40(1), 65-80.