From DSC:
My dad sent me this in an email — I’ll include it here as a graphic to insure that I get the layout correct:

 

ResearchFromCambridgeUniversity-PowerOfMind

 

Another excerpt from the email:

If you can raed this, you have a sgtrane mnid, too.

Can you raed this? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can. I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

 

From DSC:
What amazed me about this was in the meta cognitive processes of my mind I sensed my mind struggling to make sense of the first couple words…but then, as I moved forward, my mind went back and filled in the gaps and moved forward with understanding what the words were saying.  Then it occurred to me how amazing the human mind is — glory to God!  Humans can pick up patterns much quicker than computers and algorithms. Not that algorithms can’t be tweaked over time, but humans are key in getting them headed in the right direction in the first place!

P.S. I also saw this type of thing at Jimmy Johns; but that’s even one step further outside the academic realm than even an email from someone’s dad!  But thanks Dad if you are reading this!  I found it to be an amazing exercise.   🙂

 

 

“Mom! Check out what I did at school today!”

If you’re a parent, don’t you love to hear the excitement in your son’s or daughter’s voice when they bring home something from school that really peaked their interest? Their passions?

I woke up last night with several ideas and thoughts on how technology could help students become — and stay — engaged, while passing over more control and choice to the students in order for them to pursue their own interests and passions. The idea would enable students to efficiently gain some exposure to a variety of things to see if those things were interesting to them — perhaps opening a way for a future internship or, eventually, a career.

The device I pictured in my mind was the sort of device that I saw a while back out at Double Robotics and/or at Suitable Technologies:

.

doublerobotics dot com -- wheels for your iPad

 

 

Remote presence system called Beam -- from Suitable Technologies - September 2012

 

The thoughts centered on implementing a growing network of such remote-controlled, mobile, videoconferencing-based sorts of devices, that were hooked up to voice translation engines.  Students could control such devices to pursue things that they wanted to know more about, such as:

  • Touring the Louvre in Paris
  • Being backstage at a Broadway musical or checking out a live performance of Macbeth
  • Watching a filming of a National Geographic Special in the Fiji Islands
  • Attending an IEEE International Conference in Taiwan
  • Attending an Educause Conference or a Sloan C event to get further knowledge about how to maximize your time studying online or within a hybrid environment
  • Touring The Exploratorium in San Francisco
  • Touring the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago
  • Being a fly on the wall during a Senate hearing/debate
  • Seeing how changes are made in the assembly lines at a Ford plant
  • Or perhaps, when a student wheels their device to a particular area — such as the front row of a conference, the signal automatically switches to the main speaker/event (keynote speakers, panel, etc. via machine-to-machine communications)
  • Inviting guest speakers into a class: pastors, authors, poets, composers, etc.
  • Work with local/virtual teams on how to heighten public awareness re: a project that deals with sustainability
  • Virtually head to another country to immerse themselves in another country’s language — and, vice versa, help them learn the students’ native languages

For accountability — as well as for setting aside intentional time to process the information — students would update their own blogs about what they experienced, heard, and saw.  They would need to include at least one image, along with the text they write about their experience.  Or perhaps a brief/edited piece of digital video or audio of some of the statements that they heard that really resonated with them, or that they had further questions on.  The default setting on such postings would be to be kept private, but if the teacher and the student felt that a posting could/should be made public, a quick setting could be checked to publish it out there for others to see/experience.

Real world. Engaging. Passing over more choice and control to the students so that they can pursue what they are passionate about.

 

 

 

Deep learning vs. surface learning: Getting students to understand the difference — from facultyfocus.com by Maryellen Wiemer

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Cognitively passive learning behaviors (surface learning approaches)
I came to class.
I reviewed my class notes.
I made index cards.
I highlighted the text.

Cognitively active learning behaviors (deep learning approaches)
I wrote my own study questions.
I tried to figure out the answer before looking it up.
I closed my notes and tested how much I remembered.
I broke down complex processes step-by-step.

…it is terribly important that in explicit and concerted ways we make students aware of themselves as learners. We must regularly ask, not only “What are you learning?” but “How are you learning?” We must confront them with the effectiveness (more often ineffectiveness) of their approaches. We must offer alternatives and then challenge students to test the efficacy of those approaches. We can tell them the alternatives work better but they will be convinced if they discover that for themselves.

The  article, “Technology changing how students learn, teachers say,” reminds me of the graphic below. It appears that teachers now have a definite answer to the question I was asking back in June 2010:

.

If attention can be visualized as a gate...is it getting harder to get through the gate?

 

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Teachers who were not involved in the surveys echoed their findings in interviews, saying they felt they had to work harder to capture and hold students’ attention.

“I’m an entertainer. I have to do a song and dance to capture their attention,” said Hope Molina-Porter, 37, an English teacher at Troy High School in Fullerton, Calif., who has taught for 14 years. She teaches accelerated students, but has noted a marked decline in the depth and analysis of their written work.

 

Bottom line:
Like so much in life, we have very little control of most things. Students are changing and we cannot control that situation — nor should we seek to. Why? Because most people I know — including myself — do not like to be controlled.  We can and should attempt to pulse check these sorts of changes, plan some experiments around them, and then see and report on what works and what doesn’t work.  This all relates to something I saw on earlier today on Twitter from Anya Kamenetz (@anya1anya):

If you declare a no-media classroom, you better be damn fascinating.

 

 

Also, a relevant quote:

The biggest problem area for teachers is students’ attention span, with 71% saying saying entertainment media use has hurt students either “a lot” (34%) or “somewhat” (37%) in that area.

— from Children, Teens, and Entertainment Media: The View From The Classroom
A Common Sense Media Research Study – NEW REPORT
November 1, 2012
Download the full report

Teaching secrets: Teaching students how to learn — from Edweek.org by Cossondra George

Excerpt:

Awareness of common pitfalls and effective strategies can support your efforts to help students “learn to learn” throughout the school year…

 

From DSC:
I sure wish instructional designers, subject matter experts, professors and teachers could annotate their “books” to give concrete, practical ideas and strategies that would help students to better study, understand, and remember the relevant materials.  My early take on this might be achieved via a multi-layered, digital textbook approach that would hopefully address metacognition and help students learn how to learn:

 

 

Metacognition — from ardentisptyltd blog

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

When working with gifted children it is very important to consider metacognitionThis is awareness of your own thinking.  Metacognition can be taught and the best schools will start to incorporate metacognition from the very earliest levels. They might not call it metacognition but it will encompass self-reflection about learning, about task completion and about motivation.  It can be helpful to consider your own learning style and how difficult it is to work out how you think when you first begin.  Often children may not be aware of how they think but close questioning might assist.

Some metacognitive strategies to consider are…

From DSC:
When motivation is mentioned…does anyone have any good blog postings about how to help a student become motivated if –when they do their self-check on this — they discover or confirm that their motivation is very low for a particular assignment/topic that they are working on?

Addendum on 6/13/11:
I just saw this over the weekend from Steve Hargadon:

 

 

LiveScribe's new connections -- sharp!

 

From DSC:
Taking this concept into learning spaces…I would like to see this type of thing in all Smart Classrooms; for example:



 

Also see:

[Concept] The new “textbook”: A multi-layered approach — from Daniel S. Christian
I’ve been thinking recently about new approaches to relaying — and engaging with — content in a “textbook”.



For a physical textbook


When opening up a physical textbook to a particular page, QR-like codes would be printed on the physical pages of the textbook.  With the advent of augmented reality, such a mechanism would open up some new possibilities to interact with content for that page. For example, some overall characteristics about this new, layered approach:

  • Augmented reality could reveal multiple layers of information:
    • From the author/subject matter expert as well as the publisher’s instructional design team
      • Main points highlighted
      • Pointers that may help with metacognition, such as potential mnemonics that might be helpful in moving something into long-term memory
      • Studying strategies
    • A layer that the professor or teacher could edit
      • Main points highlighted
      • Pointers that may help with metacognition, such as potential mnemonics that might be helpful in moving something into long-term memory
      • Studying strategies
    • A layer for the students to comment on/annotate that page
    • A layer for other students’ comments

 

 


For an electronic-based textbook


  • The interface would allow for such layers to be visible or not — much like Google’s Body Browser application
  • For example, in this graphic, comments from the SME and/or ID are highlighted on top of the normal text:

 

 

 

 

Advantages of this concept/model:

  • Ties physical into virtual world
  • We could economically update information (i.e. opens up streams of content)
  • Integrates social learning
  • Allows SMEs, IDs, faculty members to further comment/add to content as new information becomes available
  • Instructors could highlight the key points they want to stress
  • Many of the layers could offer items that might help with students’ meta-cognitive processes (i.e. to help them learn the content and move the content into long-term memory)
  • One could envision the textbook being converted into something more akin to an app in an online-based store — with notifications of updates that could be constantly pushed out

 

Addendum (5/26):

 

The definition of metacognitive skills in education — ehow.com by Gilbert Manda

Excerpt:

Controlling your thinking processes and becoming more aware of your learning is called metacognition. Metacognitive skills make you aware of your own knowledge, the ability to understand, control and manipulate your own cognitive process. In short, you learn to learn. It is important to know the process of learning and understanding your own approach to it.

From DSC:
I wish that scholars would write their articles/research findings up in two formats:

1) One format being targeted to other scholars/researchers
and
2) The second format being targeted to those folks outside academia who might benefit from it

This article is not from a scholarly journal, but it references some scholarly sources such as those from Purdue University and  Midwestern State University; however, it is much more readable and useful to me — and probably to many others. It is written in language that more people can understand and work with. Academia needs to start being more relevant like this — speaking to audiences outside ourselves; especially when we are asking them to pay many of the bills.

How can we help students develop better metacognitive skills? What strategies can we offer while they are studying a particular lesson?


Metacognition: A Literature Review Research Report — from Pearson by Emily Lai, April 2011

Abstract

Metacognition is defined most simply as “thinking about thinking.” Metacognition consists of two components: knowledge and regulation. Metacognitive knowledge includes knowledge about oneself as a learner and the factors that might impact performance, knowledge about strategies, and knowledge about when and why to use strategies. Metacognitive regulation is the monitoring of one’s cognition and includes planning activities, awareness of comprehension and task performance, and evaluation of the efficacy of monitoring processes and strategies. Recent research suggests that young children are capable of rudimentary forms of metacognitive thought, particularly after the age of 3. Although individual developmental models vary, most postulate massive improvements in metacognition during the first 6 years of life. Metacognition also improves with appropriate instruction, with empirical evidence supporting the notion that students can be taught to reflect on their own thinking. Assessment of metacognition is challenging for a number of reasons: (a) metacognition is a complex construct; (b) it is not directly observable; (c) it may be confounded with both verbal ability and working memory capacity; and (d) existing measures tend to be narrow in focus and decontextualized from in-school learning. Recommendations for teaching and assessing metacognition are made.

Keywords: metacognition, self-regulated learning

 

 

From DSC:
Also see Chapter 12 of:

  • Ormrod, J. E. (2008). Human learning (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. ISBN 9780132327497.

…which has excellent further resources, additional literature reviews, learning strategies.

MBA Curriculum Changes: Wharton, Yale, and Stanford Lead the Pack — from knewton.com by Christina Yu

Excerpt (citing article from a  U.S. News article):

“Rather than consider pre-digested summaries of company situations, students tackle ‘raw cases’ packed with original data. Instead of being presented with an income statement, for example, they must mine the considerably bulkier annual filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission for data. The raw cases ‘push us to understand,’ says second-year Yale student Jason Hill. ‘They purposely put in more material than you could ever look at, but you have to learn where to look.’” (emphasis DSC)

From DSC:
I found this to be a good, interesting post. I just had a couple of thoughts that I wanted to throw out there re: it.

In looking at trends from an 80,000-foot level, I’d vote for MBA programs integrating much more of the tech-know-how — and/or appreciation of what technologies can bring to the table — as well as teaching grad students about some of the tools/technologies that are emerging these days (and I’d bet that the leaders/schools mentioned in this article are already doing this) .

I remember an instructor years ago — at SFSU’s MSP Program — saying that bots and agents will be the key to making decisions in the future, as there will be too much information for a person to sift through. The streams of content need to be tapped — but in efficient ways. So perhaps the logical step here is for MBA students to learn what bots/agents are, how to use them, and what their applications might be in making business/strategic decisions.

The most successful organizations of the future will be well-versed in technologies and what the applications/benefits of these technologies are. My bet? If you don’t have a technologist at the power table of your organization, the outlook doesn’t look very bright for your organization in terms of surviving and thriving in the future. Organizations will also need to be willing to take risks and move forward without having a full cost-benefit analysis done — as many times these don’t work well or are not even possible when implementing tech-based endeavors/visions.

Also relevant here:

 

Toward a science of learning — from InsideHigherEd.com by Diana Chapman Walsh

In travels around the country, I’ve been seeing signs of a trend in higher education that could have profound implications: a growing interest in learning about learning. At colleges and universities that are solidly grounded in a commitment to teaching, groups of creative faculty are mobilizing around learning as a collective, and intriguing, intellectual inquiry.

This trend embraces the advances being made in the cognitive sciences and the study of consciousness. It resides in the fast-moving world of changing information technology and social media. It recognizes and builds upon new pedagogies and evolving theories of multiple ways of knowing and learning. It encompasses but transcends the evolution of new and better measures of student learning outcomes.

I know that this essay is loaded with fighting words. But I believe we need, and are now beginning to see, ways to reframe the problem of learning outcomes, ways that might galvanize positive energy and support within a faculty. Imagine “the administration” saying to faculty, in effect: We want you to be learning all you can about who your students are now, how they learn and what they need to know in order to be successful in a world that is changing faster than we can imagine much less anticipate. And we want you to have the resources and collegial connections you will need to make the pursuit of that question an exciting and fruitful complement to your scholarship. From learning science there are stunning advances that need translation before they can be brought successfully into classrooms, findings and possibilities that at least some faculty might find inherently fascinating if they were approached right, offered a supportive culture with meaningful incentives and rewards and scholarly payoffs.

Can students learn to learn? — from InsideHigherEd.com by Scott Jaschik

SAN FRANCISCO — Why do some students in a course perform better than others of roughly equal ability?

The answers, of course, are as varied as are students. Some spend more time studying, or study more efficiently; some have other priorities; some don’t connect with the instructor. Some of these factors relate to metacognition, defined variously as knowing about knowing or being able to understand why we learn the way we do. A student with metacognition may realize after a disappointing test that she didn’t study hard enough, and needs to devote more time to academics. The student operating without metacognition may respond to the same setback by trashing his instructor on RateMyProfessors.com.

By forcing students to stop for a few minutes and associate their study habits with their exam performance, and to think about why they don’t know an answer, the academics hope to change students’ habits — to encourage them to figure out what they don’t know and to study in more effective ways (and more). “We want those who are not doing well to think about it,” Bonnie said.

10 ways technology supports 21st century learners in being self directed — from the Innovative Educator

  1. Personal Learning Networks
  2. Tweet to Connect with Experts
  3. Skype an Expert
  4. Free Online Educational Resources
  5. Online Learning
  6. Authentic Publishing
  7. Use YouTube and iTunes to Learn Anything
  8. Passion (or talent) Profiles
  9. Develop Authentic Learning Portfolios
  10. Empower Students to Assess and Learn Themselves

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