Educational Web Tools to Empower Students Voice in Class — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

At the core of progressive pedagogy is the empowerment of students by giving them a voice in class and making them part of the decision making. Unlike traditional instruction where  students are viewed as passive receivers of  pre-designed knowledge, a progressive instruction is primarily student-centered and dialogic in nature. It views students as subjects with a sense of agency capable of co-constructing their own knowledge. This pedagogical stance is especially popularized by educationists such as John Dewy, Paulo Freire, Maxine Greene, and Vygotsky. For these theorists, learning is driven by curiosity, inquiry and self-discovery, processes which involve students in their own learning and makes their learning meaningful.

With the help of web technologies, you can use a wide variety of web tools with students to provide them with an outlet through which they can express their voices. Here are some examples to try …

 

 

From DSC:
I ran into the posting below on my Twitter feed. I especially want to share it with all of those students out there who are majoring in Education. You will find excellent opportunities to build your Personal Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter.

But this idea/concept/opportunity also applies to current teachers, professors, trainers, special educators, principals, superintendents, school board members, coaches, and many, many others.

You will not only learn a great deal by tapping into those streams of content, but you will be able to share your own expertise, insights, resources, reflections, etc.  Don’t underestimate the networking and learning potential of Twitter. It’s one of the top learning tools in the world.

One last thought before you move onto the graphics below…K-12 educators are doing a super job of networking and sharing resources with each other. I hope that more faculty members who are working within higher education can learn from the examples being set forth by K-12 educators.

 

 

Also see:

 

Also see:

 

 

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:

 


 

 

Using arts education to help other lessons stick — from nytimes.com by Perri Klass
The arts can be a source of joy in a child’s day, and also come in handy for memorizing times tables.

Excerpts:

Arts education in schools has introduced many children to great painters and great music, and helped them through their first dance steps or tentative musical endeavors. It can serve as a bright spot in the schoolchild’s day or week, a class that brings in beauty, color and joy, and which is not about testing.

These subjects are often under threat either from budget cuts or from the inexorable demands of academic testing and “accountability,” but insights from neuroscience suggest that arts education can play additional important roles in how children learn.

Arts education encompasses many disciplines: “I’m talking about everything from music, drama, dance, design, visual arts,” Dr. Sowden said. And the goal goes beyond the specific subjects, he said: “You’re looking for opportunities in the arts education context to encourage children to ask questions, to use their imaginations, but also to approach their work in a systematic, disciplined way.”

 

 

Inspiring Leaders | Anthony G. Picciano — from virtuallyinspired.org
Co-founder of CUNY Online and founding member of the Online Learning Consortium, shares his insights on his new book, “Online Education: Foundations, Planning, and Pedagogy,” building a community in an online classroom, gaming and more.

 

Excerpts/items mentioned in this video:

  • Research Initiative for Teaching Effectiveness, University of Central Florida
  • Reports from the Babson Survey Research Group, Babson College
  • 2010 U.S. Dept of Education meta-analysis — older now, but still a pivotal study
  • Tap into what students already know; have students bring their own experiences into the topics/discussions; bring their own materials and interests
  • Have students own the course as much as possible
  • Limit the amount of lecturing — introduce humor where possible; tap into students’ interests
  • Chunk lecturing up into 6-8 minute pieces — then introduce some activity that forces the students to do something
  • The River City — Chris Dede (mainly for high school students)
  • MIT elude — how to deal w/ depression
  • Fortnite
  • Elegance in simplicity — clean format, where things are, streamlined –6-7 clearly-labeled buttons, I understand what I have to do here; make it simple, not complex; use techs where makes good pedagogical sense
  • Future: AI, nanotechnology will lead to more quantum computing, cloud computing

 

Quantum computing is a whole of the level of digital circuitry design.  That will allow much more power, much more speed, the likes of which we have not seen in digital technology.  When that comes, that opens up lots of other possibilities in applications like artificial intelligence, like robotics, like cloud computing.  All of these will be significantly enhanced as we move to a quantum computing type environment.  When that happens, we will see a whole other level of digital activity not just in teaching and learning but everything we do.

 

 

Also see:

 

 

From DSC:
From Mary Grush’s recent article re: Learning Engineering, I learned that back in the late 1960’s, Herbert Simon believed there would be value in providing college presidents with “learning engineers” (see his article entitled, “The Job of a College President”).

 

 

An excerpt:

What do we find in a university? Physicists well educated in physics, and trained for research in that discipline; English professors learned in their language and its literature (or at least some tiny corner of it); and so on down the list of the disciplines. But we find no one with a professional knowledge of the laws of learning, or of the techniques for applying them (unless it be a professor of educational psychology, who teaches these laws, but has no broader responsibility for their application in the college).

Notice, our topic is learning, not teaching. A college is a place where people come to learn. How much or how little teaching goes on there depends on whether teaching facilitates learning, and if so, under what circumstances. It is a measure of our naivete that we assume implicitly, in almost all our practices, that teaching is the way to produce learning, and that something called a “class” is the best environment for teaching.

But what do we really know about the learning process: about how people learn, about what they learn, and about what they can do with what they learn? We know a great deal today, if by “we” is meant a relatively small group of educational psychologists who have made this their major professional concern. We know much less, if by “we” is meant the rank and file of college teachers.

 

What is learned must be defined in terms of what the student should be able to do. If learning means change in the student, then that change should be visible in changed potentialities of behavior.

Herbert Simon, 1967

 

From DSC:
You will find a great deal of support for active learning in Simon’s article.

 

 

Executive Function Deficits Determine Student Achievement — from thejournal.com by Sara Friedman
A new report finds the achievement gap tends to widen with students having academic difficulties in math and science starting in kindergarten.

Excerpt:

Difficulties in math and science learning in the early grades can have lasting consequences for students who have impairments in executive functions, according to a new report from Penn State researchers published in the Early Childhood Quarterly journal. The research looks back at executive functions related to working memory, cognitive flexibility and inhibitory control to determine when problems begin in early STEM education.

The study analyzes data from 11,010 students who participated in the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics Early Childhood Education Study, which measures childhood development, school readiness and early childhood experiences. The report data comes from students who started kindergarten in the 2010-2011 school year through the spring of third grade.

 

From DSC:
One of our daughters has issues involving executive functioning…we’re told that she has to work twice as hard as the other students to process the information coming at her. Thus, mini breaks are really helpful for her. For example, if she can walk something to the office, that’s really beneficial for her.

 

 

Survey: Online, Blended Dominate Today’s Learning Environments — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly
In our latest Teaching with Technology Survey, the vast majority of faculty members said they teach in either a fully online or blended format.

 

Most faculty members either teach in a blended or fully online learning environment

 

However, that doesn’t mean those instructors blend every course. When we asked faculty how many of their classes are blended, 29 percent said they teach all blended classes, while 45 percent blend some of their classes. Six percent said they plan to use the blended model in the next year or are exploring the option.

 

 

‘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.

 

From DSC:
The article below relays some interesting thoughts on what an alternative syllabus could look like. It kind of reminds me of a digital playlist…

Looking For Syllabus 2.0 — from usv.com by Dani Grant

Excerpt:

There have been several attempts already to curate online resources for learning new topics. Usually they take the form of a list of links. The problem with the list of links approach is that they are static and they are inefficient. You don’t need to read a whole link to get the main point, you want to curate little bits and pieces of open resources: 30 seconds of this podcast, a minute and a half from this youtube video, just these 4 paragraphs from this article.

The thing that is closest to a modern internet syllabi is Susan Fowler’s guide for learning physics (it’s really amazing, go check it out). What if you could have that type of curated guide for many topics that gets updated by the community over time, with inline discussion with other learners?

I think Syllabus 2.0 could look something like this:

We’ve created a sample syllabus for this last topic so you can see what we envision in action. It curates 8 hours of podcasts, talks and blog posts into a 30 minute guide.

 

 

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