Distracted Minds: The Role of Tempo in Good Teaching — from chronicle.com by James Lang
To help students stay attentive in class, think like a conductor, and recognize that students need you to change the pace and the action.

Excerpt:

In this third installment of a series on distraction and attention in education — based on my new bookDistracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do About It — I want to draw inspiration from creative artists who have long counted it as one of their tasks to keep audiences attentive to works that stretch over long periods of time. Directors and playwrights, conductors and composers, all recognize the limited attention span of an audience, which is why they structure the work itself and its performance in particular ways.

The classroom is one of the only places where we expect humans in seats to maintain their attention through an extended, uninterrupted performance of an hour or more. I suspect that’s the case because we (the teachers) are able to keep ourselves fully engaged during the class period: We’re managing our slides, thinking about the next discussion question, writing on the board, and more. It’s all very engaging — for us — but not necessarily for our students.

From DSC:
I appreciated reading this solid article by James Lang — in it, he offers up some excellent points and suggestions. I would guess that the top reasons why these things don’t occur most offer are:

  1. The design of a class takes time. Time is hard to come by. That’s why instructional design is very helpful but is sometimes put on a backburner…to the students’ detriment.
  2. There aren’t enough Instructional Designers to go around.
  3. Faculty don’t seek out Instructional Designers or, when an Instructional Designer is around, they may have a queue that’s way too long and they’ve become a bottleneck.
 

Maths mastery through stop-motion animation — from innovatemyschool.com by Rachel Cully

Do you want your learners to be resilient, confident mathematicians with secure conceptual understanding and a love of Maths? Well, come with me to a land of stories and watch the magic unfold.

Maths mastery through stop-motion animation -- by Rachel Cully

Also see:

 
 

Bichronous Online Learning: Blending Asynchronous & Synchronous Online Learning — from er.educause.edu by Florence Martin, Drew Polly and Albert Ritzhaupt

Excerpt:

Overall, research shows that when synchronous communication features are integrated with asynchronous features, the online course is more engaging, increasing learning outcomes, positive attitudes, and retention.

Bichronous Online Learning: Blending Asynchronous and Synchronous Online Learning

 

Canvas Certified Educator program for higher education

Per “Instructure Launches Canvas Certified Educator Program” out at The Journal by Dian Schaffhauser:

Each course is expected to take about four weeks to finish. They include:

  • Core 1: Foundational frameworks, which explores the impact of technology on student learning and the classroom and how Canvas can be used to help educators boost student achievement, motivation and engagement;
  • Core 2: Engagement strategies, to examine how Canvas can help enrich teaching practices and maximize student achievement;
  • Core 3: Personalized learning, to dive into personalized learning and learn how to create opportunities for student voice and choice within the learning environment;
  • Core 4: Transformational practices, to help participants learn how to evaluate open standard digital learning tools that can enhance learning through Canvas; and
  • Electives, described as a series of optional courses that can be selected by educators based on interests and needs.
 
 

Richard Mayer Has Spent Decades On Educational Research. Here are His Pandemic Teaching Tips. — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpt:

EdSurge recently reached out to Mayer, who is a professor of psychology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, to get his thoughts on the lessons his research reveals that can guide teachers and professors.

One finding is that students learn better if they see a video of the professor actually working out a math problem or concept on a whiteboard, than if they see a video of the same professor standing next to a whiteboard where the problem has already been worked out.

 

5 things that show students aren’t the only ones learning during the pandemic — from mlive.com by Melissa Frick

Excerpts:

“Never in my 33 years of teaching did I ever think it would be like this,” the Muskegon High School teacher said of virtual learning, which the district is using this semester to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

“It’s a huge learning curve.”

With Michigan K-12 schools back in session for the fall – some virtually, some in-person, and some a mix of both – students aren’t the only ones doing the learning this year. Amid this unprecedented school year, teachers are learning some new things along the way, too.


3. Virtual learning has exposed the depth of Michigan’s digital divide
Systemic gaps in technology access among school districts around the state left thousands of students at a disadvantage this year, despite efforts by educators to fulfill short-term connectivity needs during virtual learning.

From DSC:
These are just a couple of reasons that I say that Rome wasn’t built overnight. But it’s great to see that tools are being added to teaching toolboxes and learners’ toolboxes as well:

“It’s easy for them to get onto Zoom now, they can go onto Google Classroom and go into the lesson right along with us,” she said. “I’m surprised at how smooth it’s running now.”

 

10 Ways You Can Use Podcasts in Your Course to Engage Students — from barbihoneycutt.com by Barbi Honeycutt, Ph.D.

Excerpts:

Have you used podcasts in your courses yet? If not, you might want to consider it! Podcasts can be an excellent tool to add to your lesson to enhance a message, present more in-depth perspectives, and offer a different medium for students to engage with the course content.

10 Ways You Can Use Podcasts in a Course or Lesson:

1) Compare and contrast two podcast episodes where the same topic is discussed by different guests.
2) Use an episode as a supplement or additional resource for a reading assignment.

 

Per Dr. Honeycutt, also see:

 

Livestreamed Chemistry Labs Keep Learning Real — Mistakes, Spills and All — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

To keep students engaged, the synchronous sessions include small-group breakout sessions and on-the-spot activities like having students name compounds; balance chemical equations; predict the outcomes of experiments; and calculate masses, amounts and concentrations for the chemicals used.

 

How Do You Make Zoom Breakout Rooms Less Boring? — from edsurgey.com by Bonni Stachowiak (Columnist)

Excerpt:

My first recommendation was to keep the breakout room time-frames short. If we allocate too much time, some groups will be done with the exercise with lots of time left, which can lead to social awkwardness. My preference is to have a few, shorter breakouts instead of one long one.

The second recommendation I had was around making the students’ work more visible when they are in the breakout rooms—through the use of an editable, shared document of some kind.

 

We’re All New This Year: How Advice for Rookie Teachers Can Help Everyone During Virtual Learning — from kqed.org by Kara Newhouse

Excerpt:

How can I teach music if the kids aren’t allowed to sing indoors? How will lag time affect group singing online? How will I make students feel seen and heard via Zoom? Those were some of the questions that elementary music teacher Angela Carpenter spent her summer trying to figure out. Though she would be entering her 15th year of teaching, it was like being new to the job. “No one has done this before. Even the teaching that we’re doing now is so vastly different than what we did in the spring,” she said, “because that was panic teaching.”

She’s not alone with that thought.

 

Best Practices for Teaching Online -- K12 -- Laurel Springs School

[K12] Best Practices for Teaching Online — from Laurel Springs School; with thanks to The Journal for their article on this entitled, “While Schools Go Online, Here’s How Teachers Can Turn Uncertainty Into Opportunity” by Megan O’Reilly Palevich

Excerpt:

As I was reflecting on the magnitude of what is happening in K-12 education, I wanted to figure out a way to help the teaching community. It dawned on me that Laurel Springs has just over 150 teachers and almost 30 years of distance learning experience as a school. So, I asked our expert teaching faculty—what are your best practices for teaching online? I was overwhelmed by the responses and goodwill from my team. I am excited to share with you a guide to help with working remotely, communicating with students and families, and the best tips and resources for lower, middle, and upper school.

I hope that you find this information useful and share it with your colleagues. Feel free to pass it on and share—we are all in this together. As a parent, teacher, and leader, I appreciate you and all of the wonderfully creative things you are doing to do what you do best: TEACHING.

Please feel free to contact me for any additional support!

Warmest regards,

Best Practices for Teaching Online -- from Laurel Springs School by Megan O'Reilly Palevich

PDF file here.

 

Teaching in a Hybrid Classroom – What’s Working, What’s Not — from derekbruff.org by Derek Bruff

Excerpt:

Now that we’re a few weeks into the semester, I wanted to know what was working and what was a continuing challenge for instructors, so I convened a conversation on teaching earlier this week attended by 18 of my faculty colleagues representing a range of disciplines. They were excited to be back in the classroom this fall. “There’s a different energy when we’re face-to-face,” one of them said. We had a lively discussion via Zoom about hybrid teaching, including what made it exciting and what made it frustrating, and I wanted to share a few highlights here on the blog.

I waited a minute or two while the participants thought and typed, and when it was clear that most of the participants were no longer typing, I said, “Ready, set, go!” Everyone hit enter, and a slew of responses appeared in the chat at the same time. At this point, we all spent a couple of minutes reading through the responses. I selected a couple that were particularly interesting and called on those participants to elaborate via video.

Also see:

Active Learning in Hybrid and Physically Distanced Classrooms — from cft.vanderbilt.edu by Derek Bruff

 

If I’m standing at the front of the classroom with half or a third of my students in the room with me, but sitting six feet apart from each other and wearing masks, while the rest of my students are joining class by videoconference, what strategies might I employ to engage all of my students in meaningful learning?

I’m going to try to outline some options here in this blog post, drawing on ideas and resources from across the higher education community, but I would enthusiastically welcome additional approaches in the comments below or via Hypothesis annotations.

Derek Bruff

 

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