Each drawing assignment asks students to explain a science concept or process. For example, in addressing the question of how to identify which of two compounds has the higher boiling point, students are encouraged to be creative and to consider a variety of formats, including cartoons and stick figures. Students are also told, “In your drawing, strive for clarity in visually representing the concepts of bond type and strength.”
Many of the drawings bring scientific concepts to life in interesting and unexpected ways. They also bring any misconceptions immediately to light so that professors can address them with students.
Not to draw attention to the man behind the curtain, but one of the steps is a key part of flipping the classroom:
3. Replace homework with engaging in-class activities. The research on the effectiveness of homework ends up on both the pro and con sides. Most studies that support assigning homework suggest that it increases grades in class or on tests. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant. Measuring achievement with grades and test scores is a false barometer of learning because all the control in these areas is in the hands of the teacher, and there is no place for control in a student-centered classroom. With engaging, ongoing projects that are driven by interactive web tools, students produce more in class, making homework obsolete. Best of all, when not faced with “do-this-and-do-it-my-way” assignments, students become eager to complete the projects that they have created and choose to do schoolwork outside of class. This autonomy breeds learning for the sake of learning—one of the best parts of the student-centered classroom.
Another great post from User Generated Education (who you should check out if you haven’t already). Here’s an excerpt:
Begin a New Unit with Students Developing Questions: Try starting a new unit by asking your class to think of questions that could be asked about the topic.
Create a Taxonomy of Questions: When students begin to label the different kinds of questions, they learn to select different kinds of questions to perform different kinds of thinking. No matter what the level of schooling, some kind of label can work effectively.
Ask Students to Create Questions as Homework (this would work with the Flipped Classroom): Put your classroom questioning typology to work with your homework assignments. If students read an assignment, let them form questions for the next day’s discussion. Ask them to:
write three comparison questions about the story they are reading;
identify the question the author was trying to answer;
find a question which has no answer, or two thousand answers or an infinite number of answers;
ask a question that is the child of a bigger question that they can then ask the rest of the class to identify.
"Some critics of instructional design suggest that with abundant information available on the web, anyone can learn just about anything on their own terms and customize learning to their own needs. Instructional design is not at all relevant many argue, the models are inflexible and outdated. Yet I disagree. Even though we have access to unlimited content and can learn just about anything on the web, I suggest that this is all the more reason that structure is needed to guide the learner, frame the experience, even for students seeking a self-directed learning program."
The challenge is this – How can you effectively teach thousands of students simultaneously? I’m fascinated by the contrast between post-secondary faculty and K-12 teacher contract agreements that limit class size and the current emergent MOOC aim of having as many enrollments as possible. What a dichotomy.
MOOC’s have done a great job at creating courses open to massive enrollments from anywhere around the world. But how well are MOOC’s doing at actually successfully teaching those students? Based on MOOCs equally massive dropout rates having teaching and learning success on a massive scale will require pedagogical innovation. It’s this innovation, more than massive enrollments or free that I think make MOOC’s important. Let me explain.
An excellent article, and well-worth the read for the history of MOOCs (can you call less than three years “history?”).
Some “light” readings for my fellow pedagogues. Here’s an excerpt:
Education 3.0 is a connectivist, heutagogical approach to teaching and learning. The teachers, learners, networks, connections, media, resources, tools create a a unique entity that has the potential to meet individual learners’, educators’, and even societal needs. Many resources for Education 3.0 are literally freely available for the taking.
“Ditching the teacher-centred, authoritarian pedagogy many mature academics were trained in…seemed like a good idea,” she writes. “Promoting active and engaged students, appealing to student interest and promoting a more community-based and democratic enterprise made sense.”
However, today’s student-led learning environment, which stresses the importance of student voices and experiences, has led to a loss of teachers’ authority within the classroom, she contends.
Teachers report widespread resistance to critical feedback or evaluation, with students asserting that all opinions are equally valid and dismissing their instructor’s in-depth knowledge of a subject, Dr Watters says.
“If we and our pedagogy encourage such high opinions of student work, can we really be surprised when they take us at our word?” she asks.
Don’t let the title fool you: This article is mostly about working in challenging questions.
No wonder, then, that simulations, video games, and sports are so engaging and athletes are willing to endure the tedium of skill development and the pain of conditioning. Lurking behind every soccer game or swim meet is a set of interesting and ongoing essential questions: What do we need to do to win? What do we need to do to improve? What are our strengths and weaknesses, and how can we play to our strengths and lessen our weaknesses?
Such questions are constantly alive because each new game or meet brings a new form of challenge, and using one’s mind to figure out how to be better at an immersive challenge is key to motivation.
In fact, the best coaches make such implicit questions explicit. Grant saw this with one of his daughter’s high school soccer coaches, a veteran of 40 years of college and high school coaching. Unlike so many of his colleagues, he didn’t lecture during the half-time break. He merely asked questions: What is working for us so far? What isn’t? Why isn’t it working, and how can we improve it? What is working for the other team, and how can we counter it?
In a traditional classroom, when a teacher asks a question, “Who can tell me … ?” usually four or five hands go up. The teacher will call on one student, and perhaps on another few to see if their answers agree with the first, but the teacher will have no way of knowing what is going on in the heads of the other 20 students.
The kinesthetic teacher has a different approach. “Show me … ” Twenty-five students are being asked to respond physically to the question: Show me what comes first, the comma or the closed quotation mark. Show me if this is a series or parallel circuit. Show me an animal that lives in the rainforest; show me how the character feels just before the story’s climax. Immediately, all of the students respond, and their learning is made visible. They have to think about what they are going to do, and literally take a stand. If they want to change their answer, they don’t have to erase anything, they just change their pose. Rather than calling attention to the “mistake,” the focus is on the “re-take,” which lessens the fear of failure that is so prevalent among students today—and teachers can give immediate feedback to students (formative assessment) rather than waiting for a weekly or unit test.
"I think we’re all impressed by how stupid humans are,” remarked James Gee, a professor of literacy studies at Arizona State University, who holds degrees in philosophy and linguistics from Stanford. “It reaches almost epic proportions. We’re stupid in dozens and dozens of ways. “But human minds are plug-and-play devices; they’re not meant to be used alone. They’re meant to be used in networks.” Games allow us to do that – they allow us to use what Gee calls “collective intelligence.” Collectively, we’re not so stupid."
Gone are the days of reflecting on an assigned reading for an entire class period—or even expecting that the entire class has done the assigned reading. Examining its structure, debating its logic, and savoring its rhetoric would take up time, require sustained focus, and might not necessarily lead to the “right answer”—impediments to busy, parallel-processing students who are anxious to get it right once and for all. These impediments have been replaced with the quicker, more streamlined approach of fast-paced classes, instructor availability “on demand,” and detailed instructions.
But are these efforts shortchanging my students by reinforcing who they are right now — admittedly, as portrayed by media-hyped generalizations—at the expense of who they might become if guided beyond their current comfortable boundaries?
“Did you ask someone to help you yet?” said Gray. When a group got stumped, she’d squat next to the students, guiding them toward answers, inspiring engagement and creativity.
Gray’s classrooms emphasize coaching, not lecturing. With 16 years of teaching experience, the educator encourages collaboration, peer support and inquiry, while coordinating quizzes only when content is mastered.
A great little collection. Here’s the first part (click through for the rest):
1) We explored the rationale for digital pedagogy (pdf of slides), discussing what students need to know in the 21st century, different frameworks for digital pedagogy (e.g. learning science, liberal education, social learning, and studio learning), and definitions of digital pedagogy and the “digital liberal arts.” I started the session with Cathy Davidson’s exercise in which audience members first jot down on an index card three things they think students need to know in order to thrive in the digital age, then share their ideas with someone they didn’t walk in with, and finally work together to select the one key idea. (The exercise got people thinking and talking.)