Huge study finds professors’ attitudes affect students’ grades — and it’s doubly true for minority students. — from arstechnica.com by Scott Johnson

Excerpt:

Instead, the researchers think the data suggests that—in any number of small ways—instructors who think their students’ intelligence is fixed don’t keep their students as motivated, and perhaps don’t focus as much on teaching techniques that can encourage growth. And while this affects all students, it seems to have an extra impact on underrepresented minority students.

The good news, the researchers say, is that instructors can be persuaded to adopt more of a growth mindset in their teaching through a little education of their own. That small attitude adjustment could make them a more effective teacher, to the significant benefit of a large number of students.

 

Along these lines, also see:

 


 

 

 

Higher Education’s 2019 Trend Watch & Top 10 Strategic Technologies — from EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR)

Most Influential Trends

  • Growing complexity of security threats
  • Student success focus/imperatives
  • Data-driven decision-making
  • Increasing complexity of technology, architecture, and data
  • Contributions of IT to institutional operational excellence
  • Each of these trends is influential at 63% or more of colleges and universities. And, they are enduring—these are the same trends that exerted the most influence on IT strategy in 2018.

 

 

4 key tech strategies for the survival of the small liberal arts college — from campustechnology.com by Kellie B. Campbell
In a recent study on the use of technology to reduce academic costs in liberal arts colleges, four distinct themes emerged: the strategic role of IT; the importance of data; the potential of alternative education delivery modes; and opportunities for institutional partnerships. Here’s how IT leaders at these small colleges understand the future of their institutions.

Excerpt:

In this study, the flexibility of the semi-constructed interview format resulted in a fascinating level of honesty and bluntness from participants. In particular, participants’ language changed when they were asked to take off their professional hat and consider a new point of view — it was a chance to be vulnerable and honest. What was probably most interesting was that almost everyone signaled that the status quo is not sustainable. Something in the higher education model has to change for institutions to stay open, yet many lack a strategy for effecting change. Even if they do have a strategy in place on the business side, many are hesitant to dive into analysis and change on the academic side of the institution.

Institutions simply cannot continue to nibble at the edges of change. Significant change is needed in order to sustain the financial model of higher education. The ideas for doing so are out there, though the work must be guided by the institutional mission and consider new models for delivering education. CIOs and their departments can play an important role in that work — providing infrastructure, data, access, services and ideas — but institutional leadership at large needs to understand IT’s strategic role and position the organization to make that impact.

When participants were able to think about the “what if” question — what if the institution were forced to drastically cut academic costs — several had detailed, “out there” ideas that might not be traditionally welcomed into higher education cultures. Yet a number of participants were not being asked by their institutions to think about such ideas. The question is, if everyone agrees that the status quo is not sustainable, why aren’t they thinking about it?

 

 

The information below is from Deb Molfetta, Outreach Coordinator at EdDPrograms.org


EdDPrograms.org helps educators and administrators research doctoral education opportunities. Their organization’s work in education began in 2008 with projects ranging from a new teacher survival guide to their own teacher education scholarship program. More recently they realized that there weren’t any websites dedicated to professional development through Doctor of Education (EdD) programs, which is why they created their own – EdDPrograms.org. It covers a lot of ground, but here are a few sections they think administrators will appreciate:

EdDPrograms.org is owned and operated by a group that has been creating post-secondary education resources since 2008. According to Deb, they have a history of providing students with objective, fact-based resources.

 

 

 

Is Teaching an Art or a Science? New Book Takes a Fresh Look at ‘How Humans Learn.’ — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpts:

Eyler: That is the perennial question. We actually wrote a post for our Teaching Center’s blog with that title, “Is teaching an art or a science?” It has by far been read more than any other blog post that we’ve written.

My answer might be a little unfulfilling because I think it’s actually both. I think there is a scientific element to teaching. The book is about understanding the science of how we learn, how learning has evolved over time, and the social interactions that shape teaching. And the best teachers also often approach teaching and teaching issues scientifically. They have a hypothesis of what they think will help students learn, and they’re going to test it out and then learn from it and revise.

But if we focus too much on the science, we lose the human element of teaching—what I think of as the art of teaching.

What’s the thing that surprised you most in your research or putting this book together?

Much of what surprised me most makes up a lot of the final chapter, which is on failure. As teachers, we don’t get trained to think of failure as a positive thing in any way, even though as researchers we know that failure is a part of the learning process. No one walks into a lab right away and comes up with the Nobel Prize-winning discovery. It’s an iterative cycle.

We have these educational systems that are set up to move in exactly the opposite way. We give students really high-stakes assignments and assessments with very few opportunities to do them.

 

 

 

 

6 key trends to 21st century teaching — from edsurge.com

Excerpt:

It’s popular these days to complain that college teaching hasn’t changed in hundreds of years. And sure, it’s possible to find some professors on any campus holding yellowed lecture notes, or clinging to dusty chalk. But the reality is that the internet and digital technologies have already brought profound changes to instructional styles and tools in higher education.

So what are the new teaching approaches catching on at today’s campuses? And what are the broader cultural changes around college teaching?

We set out to answer those questions over the past year, with a series of articles and interviews exploring what teaching in the 21st century looks like. Some show the nuances of the challenges of teaching with technology by telling stories of innovative professors, including how a water agency official who teaches an online community college course got started in creating open educational resources when her class was incorporated into a zero-cost textbook degree program. Others dive into research on the culture of teaching, like a talk with an anthropologist studying how professors react to (and sometimes resist) research on teaching practices.

 

 

 

The Lesson You Never Got Taught in School: How to Learn! — from bigthink.com by Simon Oxenham (from 2/15/13)
Psychological Science in the Public Interest evaluated ten techniques for improving learning, ranging from mnemonics to highlighting and came to some surprising conclusions.

 

Excerpts:

Practice Testing (Rating = High)
This is where things get interesting; testing is often seen as a necessary evil of education. Traditionally, testing consists of rare but massively important ‘high stakes’ assessments. There is however, an extensive literature demonstrating the benefits of testing for learning – but importantly, it does not seem necessary that testing is in the format of ‘high stakes’ assessments. All testing including ‘low stakes’ practice testing seems to result in benefits. Unlike many of the other techniques mentioned, the benefits of practice testing are not modest – studies have found that a practice test can double free recall!

Distributed Practice (Rating = High)
Have you ever wondered whether it is best to do your studying in large chunks or divide your studying over a period of time? Research has found that the optimal level of distribution of sessions for learning is 10-20% of the length of time that something needs to be remembered. So if you want to remember something for a year you should study at least every month, if you want to remember something for five years you should space your learning every six to twelve months. If you want to remember something for a week you should space your learning 12-24 hours apart. It does seem however that the distributed-practice effect may work best when processing information deeply – so for best results you might want to try a distributed practice and self-testing combo.

 

Also see:

 

 

 

 

Per Willingham (emphasis DSC):

  • Rereading is a terribly ineffective strategy. The best strategy–by far — is to self-test — which is the 9th most popular strategy out of 11 in this study.  Self-testing leads to better memory even compared to concept mapping (Karpicke & Blunt, 2011).

 

Three Takeaways from Becoming An Effective Learner:

  • Boser says that the idea that people have different learning styles, such as visual learning or verbal learning, has little scientific evidence to support it.
  • According to Boser, teachers and parents should praise their kids’ ability and effort, instead of telling them they’re smart. “When we tell people they are smart, we give them… a ‘fixed mindset,’” says Boser.
  • If you are learning piano – or anything, really – the best way to learn is to practice different composers’ work. “Mixing up your practices is far more effective,” says Boser.

 

Cumulative exams aren’t the same as spacing and interleaving. Here’s why. — from  retrievalpractice.org

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Our recommendations to make cumulative exams more powerful with small tweaks for you and your students:

  • Cumulative exams are good, but encourage even more spacing and discourage cramming with cumulative mini-quizzes throughout the semester, not just as an end-of-semester exam.
  • Be sure that cumulative mini-quizzes, activities, and exams include similar concepts that require careful discrimination from students, not simply related topics.
  • Make sure you are using spacing and interleaving as learning strategies and instructional strategies throughout the semester, not simply as part of assessments and cumulative exams.

Bottom line: Just because an exam is cumulative does not mean it automatically involves spacing or interleaving. Be mindful of relationships across exam content, as well as whether students are spacing their study throughout the semester or simply cramming before an exam – cumulative or otherwise.

 


From DSC:
We, like The Learning Scientists encourages us to do and even provides their own posters, should have posters with these tips on them throughout every single school and library in the country. The posters each have a different practice such as:

  • Spaced practice
  • Retrieval practice
  • Elaboration
  • Interleaving
  • Concrete examples
  • Dual coding

That said, I could see how all of that information could/would be overwhelming to some students and/or the more technical terms could bore them or fly over their heads. So perhaps we could boil down the information to feature excerpts from the top sections only that put the concepts into easier to digest words such as:

  • Practice bringing information to mind
  • Switch between ideas while you study
  • Combine words and visuals
  • Etc. 

 

Learn how to study using these practices

 

 

‘Is it ever OK to lecture?’ — from chronicle.com by David Gooblar

Excerpts:

All of which leaves many newcomers to teaching — and some classroom veterans — wondering: Can’t instructors just lecture sometimes? Can’t we ever just tell students what we know?

Of course we can, but it’s important to know what telling is good for — and what it’s not. If we can better understand the problem with relying too much on lecturing — or “continuous exposition by the teacher,” as Derek Bruff, director of Vanderbilt University’s teaching center, called it — then we can better situate lectures within a mix of teaching practices.

When to “tell,” and when not to.

Telling is an excellent method of communicating specific information, and there are plenty of occasions when our students need specific information. To communicate important facts, to illustrate a concept with a story of its application, to explain the historical origins of a conflict, you can take the easiest route from A to B and just tell (i.e., lecture) your students.

What telling is not good for: teaching students complex ideas, conceptual knowledge, or difficult skills.

It’s also true that the best students — ones who have developed good note-taking skills — can learn quite a lot from a lecture. But to reach more than just the best students, we need to do more than just tell the class information and expect everyone to understand and put it to use.

 

A short lecture on those very topics will be that much more effective after students first try to solve the puzzle on their own. Naïve tasks work well because they reveal to students the gaps in their knowledge — gaps that your lecture can fill. 

 

Or take a page from the naïve-tasks concept and have students attempt the quiz before the lecture, thus revealing to them all that they don’t know. Then give students a chance to change their answers as they learn from your lecture.

 

Cut the curriculum — from willrichardson.com by Will Richardson

Excerpt:

Here’s an idea: A Minimal Viable Curriculum (MVC). That’s what Christian Talbot over at Basecamp is proposing, and I have to say, I love the idea.

He writes: “What if we were to design MVCs: Minimum Viable Curricula centered on just enough content to empower learners to examine questions or pursue challenges with rigor? Then, as learners go deeper into a question or challenge, they update their MVC…which is pretty much how learning happens in the real world.”

The key there to me is that THEY update their MVC. That resonates so deeply; it feels like that’s what I’m doing with my learning each day as I read about and work with school leaders who are thinking deeply about change.

 

When we pursue questions that matter to us, rigor is baked in.

 

From DSC:
I love the idea of giving students — as they can handle it — more choice, more control. So anytime around 8th-12th grade, I say we turn much more control over to the students, and let them make more choices on what they want to learn about. We should at least try some experiments along these lines.

 

 

As everyone in the workforce is now required to be a lifelong learner, our quality of life goes much higher if we actually enjoy learning. As I think about it, I have often heard an adult (especially middle age and older) say something like, “I hated school, but now, I love to learn.”

Plus, I can easily imagine greater engagement with the materials that students choose for themselves, as well as increased attention spans and higher motivation levels.

Also, here’s a major shout out to Will Richardson, Bruce Dixon, Missy Emler and Lyn Hilt for the work they are doing at ModernLearners.com.

 

Check out the work over at Modern Learners dot com

 

 

How to teach a good first day of class — from chronicle.com by James Lang
Four Key Principles | Before the First Day | The First Day of Class | After the First Day | Resources

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Do not begin the first day of the semester by immediately handing out the syllabus. Instead, spark their curiosity about the content first, and then demonstrate — with a review of the syllabus — how the course content can help satisfy that curiosity.

 

From DSC:
I think what’s also implied here is putting one’s case forward about how the content is ***relevant*** today.

 

Also this is a good practice to do as well, but for the end of the term/semester/quarter/whatever:

 

 

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