Need help filming yourself? No budget for a tripod? Kentucky artist and film teacher Kathleen Lolley and TLT’s Alea McKinley co-created a tutorial to teach you how to make a tripod for your cell phone using a paper towel roll. Safe, social-distancing was practiced during the collaboration.
Effortful retrieval—bleh! The terminology ages more like milk than wine. Fortunately, it’s a concept with substance and one of the main learning strategies promoted in Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning. Most educators have fallen for gimmicks that claim to make learning easier. I know I have. The authors of Make It Stick don’t buy it. Two hundred and fifty pounds will always be difficult to press for most people, and for most people memorizing the essential two hundred and fifty verbs of any foreign language will always take a lot of effort. The solution? Effortful retrieval—”ET” from now on. Recollection that takes a lot of umph.
We are quite familiar with ET’s relative, aka “dipstick tests.” These are often prevalent in online courses. Read, test, move on; read, test, move on. It’s not the worst type of learning. We could force ourselves to sit through fifty-minute lectures and then take a test once every six weeks. But the problem with dipstick testing is that we are compelling students to load and unload information. Like the recycle bin. Knowledge retention is rarely a deliberately calculated objective. We assume students will remember because—why? The content is important to us, the professors?
The data, however, doesn’t support our assumption, which is an unfortunate predicament given the fact that knowledge retention is one of the basic steps in getting to the higher order thinking skills. There’s a reason that Bloom’s Taxonomy keeps “Remembering” at level one, and it’s not because level one is least important. The level is foundational. Foundational concepts are built upon brick by brick so that the edifice—the evidence of our ability to create with the knowledge we retain—changes our horizons. Languages are especially vulnerable to the insufficiencies of dipstick tests; ET aims at retaining knowledge over an extended time period.
So, what is ET really? ET inculcates obstacles for the sole purpose of challenging the student to put more effort into the remembering process with strategies like delayed testing, alternative scenarios, and different but appropriate terminology.
Think of a language course, though the leap to other disciplines is minimal. Students often struggle to remember simple vocabulary words. Add to this difficulty verb conjugations, singular/plural differences, gendered nouns, and the inflections to boot. It’s a lot to remember. If dipstick’s virtue is providing regular testing, ET enhances the regular testing strategies by forcing the student to relearn material multiple times. A very simple strategy can be implemented with vocabulary quizzes in a secondary language class. For Chapter 1, there’s an initial quiz on thirty vocabulary words. When students get to Chapter 2, the instructor gives another vocabulary quiz but this time selects twenty words from Chapter 2 and ten from Chapter 1. For the Chapter 3 quiz, fifteen words come from Chapter 3, eight from Chapter 2, and seven from Chapter 1. You get the picture. Of course, students are informed that they’ll be tested on previous vocabulary chapters, which is the point. They’ll need to relearn previously studied chapters.
But that’s just one simple application of delayed testing. Here’s a more creative ET strategy. I remember when Asher, my older son, tried Boy Scouts for a year. The camp leader told me that the students would learn all of the knots from memory. Eventually, they would not only practice knot-tying indoors at camp meetings but also outside in the dark, which is the more likely scenario of when campers’ abilities would really be tested. What sort of alterations would force the student to remember differently, to retrieve the necessary information within a different context, scenario, location? That is the core set of questions ET attempts to answer. “The greater the effort to retrieve learning, provided you succeed,” claims Roediger, “the more that learning is strengthened by retrieval.” Make It Stick maintains that there’s no easy way to learn, but certainly a better way.
Maybe you can imagine a time before we Googled what we forgot. Someone asks you to recall the name of an actor from a particular film—say, the lead role in The Shawshank Redemption. You can remember his face, the way he climbs through the sewers of the prison, his triumphant emergence from the culvert and into freedom, and even Morgan Freeman’s great supporting role as Red. But you can’t name the leading actor. So, you go through the letters in the alphabet: A, no; B, huh-uh; C, nein; D, nyet—all the way to R. Something about saying “R” sounds right, and so you attempt a couple of R-names until “Robbins” emerges from the rubble, and you’re good. His first name is Tim. Guess what. You won’t so easily forget his name next time.
What is ? RooClick is a patent-pending concept in click-to-interact technology utilizing web browsers and mobile applications to allow students and teachers to engage in video content in real time. Thus allowing curriculum and information to be accessed with one click. RooClick was founded on the premises of giving viewers what they want when they want it. By eliminating disconnect between seeing content and engaging with content through a simple click. No more searching for relevant information; teachers associate the material they want with the video content. This allows instructors to customize all assignments for their class. From http://www.rooclick.com/docs/RooClickEducationFactSheet.pdf
Price: Free for individual teachers
Platform: Android, IOS and a laptop (look for “RooPlayer” in the App store and “RooClick Video Player” in Google Play)
To learn more about visit http://www.rooclick.com/
RooClick Instruction Manual for Educators and Students found at http://www.rooclick.com/docs/RooClickEducationHandbook.pdf
Check out the following articles about RooClick:
“There’s no way of knowing who is on the other side of the screen.”
Sound familiar? If so then you aren’t alone.
Not only do some instructors feel this way about online learning, but students do as well. Often they feel isolated, disconnected, and insignificant. These feelings of seclusion can often lead to decreased motivation, attention, and engagement. As part of the online learning process, it is vital to intentionally design elements to make sure that that the human connection isn’t lost in the online learning process.
What is Humanizing?
Humanizing your course involves considering the teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence of all participants in order to build community and enhance communication. The ultimate goal of this process is to make online education as personal and individualized as possible while building relationships between your students, the content, and yourself.
About the DE 2.0 Workshop
This 3-week long, self-paced session will take you through some strategies that you can use in your online class to make you and your students feel more connected. While this course is held fully online, it does contain three optional synchronous sessions with experts in humanizing online education from around the world!
You might be interested in this session if:
- You feel you are not connecting with your students in your online class the way you do in your face-to-face class.
- You feel like your online class lacks community.
- You want to make your course more engaging and personal for the students.
- Discover the elements of teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence as it applies to the online learning environment, particularly in the areas of facilitation, learning domains, and course design.
- Research assessment and engagement strategies, community building/maintaining platforms, and technology tools for increasing the humanized element.
- Discuss elements of humanized learning with other faculty teaching online at College of Charleston.
- Ask questions, exchange ideas, and meet other CofC faculty teaching distance education courses.
- Create engaging content and online activities that foster the elements of teaching presence, social presence and cognitive presence.
- Explore instructional theories that lead to a more humanized online class.
- Identify areas of your course that can be made learner centered and/or interactive.
- Revise and/or create course interactions, including social learning experiences, content delivery methods, and assessment of student learning.
Register now on TLT’s DE Readiness Blog!
Applications are open until January 31, 2017!
This week’s Small Teaching Tip is less of a tip and more of an observation and some encouragement. . .
As an instructional technologist, I support faculty’s endeavors to expand their teaching repertoires. Over the past couple of years, I’ve discovered that many faculty are hesitant to try new technologies or teaching strategies.
For some, it’s simply a lack of confidence. During graduate school, most of us were not taught how to teach and so we reproduce the methods we experienced as students. In the United States, we require rigorous training for our K-12 teachers but, strangely, we assume professors will magically know how to teach without such training. For example, when I was a 22-year-old Masters student, I was handed a textbook and class roster and told to “go teach.” Is it any wonder many of us sometimes struggle?
For other faculty, there may also be a fear of losing control or credibility. Exploring new pedagogical approaches or instructional technologies requires patience, flexibility, and persistence. For example, when I first flipped my classroom, it was a disaster. My students were frustrated and I was exhausted. But I learned a lot and didn’t give up. After much trial and error, I’m now happy with my flipped classes and my course evaluations reflect students are, too. But getting to that point required I let go of control and risk damaging my credibility. Not all faculty are willing to do this because we don’t want to be perceived as a novice. After all, we’re expected to be experts. It’s difficult to say “I don’t know” or “this didn’t work out as I planned.”
So if you are hesitant to experiment because you fear failure, chaos, poor teaching evaluations, or just looking like a fool, grant yourself permission to be a beginner. Teaching is a continuous process of learning, growing, and challenging oneself. It’s okay to not know how to do something. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable or awkward. It’s okay to make mistakes. When we try something new, we all start at the beginning.
It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to change every aspect of your teaching in order to improve student learning and engagement. We hope the Small Teaching Tip blog series has made it clear that we can all take small, strategic steps to improve our teaching.
One step you can take is to attend the Teaching, Learning, and Technology Conference on March 7-9, 2017. This conference will feature dozens of faculty-led sessions during which your colleagues will share teaching strategies, best practices, and lessons learned. Be on the look-out for more information about TLT Con in the new year!
I recently received an Apple Watch (Series 1) as a gift and given the nature of my job I was curious how Instructors might integrate this technology into their teaching and learning. My personal use of the watch did not provide many connections to classroom use, so I looked to other Instructors for ideas. Here are some of the ideas I came across and I hope that they may help you to decide if the watch is something you might try:
And here are some articles about students using the Apple Watch
For information about all versions of the Apple Watch, visit http://www.apple.com/watch/
TLT does have the original Apple Watch available for checkout if you would like to try a version of the watch out for yourself. To checkout the watch, please complete the following form: https://www.smore.com/8u99j
Do have an Apple Watch? Share with us your ideas for using it in the classroom.
Flipping the classroom seems to be the newest buzzword in education, both in higher ed and in k12 but what are the benefits of this method and what exactly is a “flipped classroom”?
A flipped classroom is a reversal of the norm, where class time that is usually spent lecturing while students dutifully take notes, is used for a more hands on approach such as group work or problem solving. All lectures or readings should be done before class, so that students have knowledge of the subject matter when they walk into class and can use the class time to delve deeper into the material. Many professors suggest a short quiz or worksheet to be completed before coming to class to keep students on track and engaged in the process.
What are the benefits of this method?
A great resource for these questions can be found in a book called “Flip Your Classroom” by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams. In it they discuss several great reasons to flip your classroom.
1. Flipping helps busy students
Some students (especially in college) are juggling academics, extracurriculars and jobs. Things come up and not all students are able to attend every class. Flipping the classroom allows them to stay caught up on the material and even work ahead if they know they will be out.
2. Flipping helps struggling students
Students that tend to struggle to learn a concept can pause the lecture, lookup any information they might not understand and then resume. They are also able to rewind as many times as needed until they fully understand the concept.
3. Flipping helps students of all abilities excel
Students that struggle will have more time to absorb the material and students that excel and get bored are able to investigate the material more fully. They are able to learn things they may not have had time to learn in a regular setting classroom.
4. Flipping increases student-teacher interaction
Flipping allows professors to help their students in a more one-on-one or one-on-group capacity. It gives time for small group lecturing to groups that may need more help and gives time to move about the classroom conversing with each student.
5. Flipping allows teachers to know their students better
Instead of lecturing at the front of the classroom while a sea of eyes stares back at you, flipping your classroom allows you to take time to walk around your class and get to know your students. This gives them a connection to their learning.
6. Flipping allows for real differentiation
Not only do the students have control of the lecture and what parts they need repeated or what parts they can move through quicker, they also have the ability to work at a higher level in class or work closely with their professor on harder concepts.
7. Flipping changes classroom management
While the professor stands at the front of the room lecturing, it is easy for students to be on their phones or looking at Facebook but in a flipped classroom they are engaged. They are working on concepts, they are thinking deeper and they are taking their knowledge to the next level.
Flipping the classroom research
One study (Deslauriers et al., 2011) found that students who participated in a flipped classroom vs. an interactive lecture classroom were much more engaged and did about 33% better on their final evaluation. Both classes were given eleven weeks of interactive lecture and at the twelfth week one class was flipped. The classes showed no difference in score or engagement in the first eleven weeks.
Another study by Fautch (2014) conducted on an organic chemistry 1 course found that students showed greater comprehension of the material and tended to improve their performance on exams. Students also felt more knowledgeable and more comfortable with the course material.
Weaver and Sturtevant (2015) conducted a three year study at Purdue University within their chemistry major and found that students in a flipped classroom, throughout their studies, scored significantly higher when compared to their previous scores in a traditional classroom setting. The majority of students had positive feelings about the format of the classroom.
How do I flip my classroom
There are numerous benefits to flipping your classroom and it doesn’t have to be an abstract concept anymore. Flipping your classroom allows students to take pride and ownership of their learning. This method allows them to explore areas of the curriculum that they may not have had time to explore in a traditional classroom or master areas that they may have been weak in. Check out any of TLT’s training sessions about flipping your classroom at tlt.eventbrite.com to get started!
DesLauriers L, Schelew E, and Wieman C (2011). Improved learning in a large-enrollment physics class. Science 332: 862-864.
Fautch, J. M. (2015). The flipped classroom for teaching organic chemistry in small classes: Is it effective? Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 16(1), 179-186.
Weaver, G. C., & Sturtevant, H. G. (2015). Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Flipped Format General Chemistry Course. J. Chem. Educ. Journal of Chemical Education, 92(9), 1437-1448
Have you ever uttered these words (perhaps after attending a TLT training)?
“I’d love to try that new tech tool or teaching strategy, but I just don’t have the time to research it or make the necessary changes in my classes.”
We hear you. Making dramatic changes to your classes requires a lot of time and energy that you don’t typically have. But that doesn’t mean your classes have to remain the same semester after semester. Powerful pedagogical improvements can be made by implementing small, incremental changes.
To get you started, TLT is introducing a new series called “Small Teaching Tips” which will present low risk, high reward teaching ideas. Inspired by James Lang’s book Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning, this series will inspire you to experiment with pedagogical strategies without becoming overwhelmed.
Small Teaching Tip #1
One way instructors can build a positive learning environment and encourage students to take more responsibility for their learning is to give them greater control, such as seeking more input from them or allowing them to choose among options based upon their own goals and interests.
Giving students more control does not mean we are giving away all control or that we are allowing them to cherry-pick only the content that interests them. Instead, it simply means giving students greater voice. Instructors can do this in small ways. Here are a few options:
Allow students to contribute to the syllabus:
Hand out a draft syllabus on the first day of class, then present the areas you want students to contribute to (You can obviously set limits and define certain rules that are non-negotiable for you). For example, leave open 10 percent of the grade for an undetermined assignment and have students decide together what that assignment will be (such as a multimedia project instead of a research paper). Or, leave a few class periods open on the course schedule and allow the students to vote on which topics will be discussed on those days.
Create a class constitution with your students:
In groups, ask students to brainstorm a set of rules to govern the class. Ask them to think of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that have helped or hindered their learning in other classes. Use this information to create a set of “do’s and don’ts.” I’m often surprised by the high expectations students set for themselves and one another when we complete this activity. They often discuss being distracted by the classmates who show up late or online shop on their laptops, so they set rules about these behaviors.
It’s important that the class constitution also includes expectations of the professor. The rules don’t just apply to the students. I often divide the whiteboard into two columns and write “expectations of the instructor” on one side and “expectations of peers” on the other. This demonstrates that I view our class as a community and that I am not “above” the rules.
Allow students to generate exam questions:
Take 30 minutes of class time and ask students to work in groups to generate exam questions. Then tell them 10% of the exam questions will come from the list they generated. This will not only give them some sense of control over the test, but also will serve as an excellent review activity.
What are ways you encourage student voice in your classes? Please share!
I wanted to share the article 8 Engaging Ways to use Technology in the Classroom to Create Lessons That Aren’t Boring from EmergingEdTech that offers up some strategies and tools for the classroom at this time because a few ideas noted in the article will be covered by CofC Faculty at the upcoming TLT Conference which takes place March 8, 9, and 10th. There are still a few spaces available so register now at https://goo.gl/oVJf8M
The article mentions Socrative and Plickers. To learn more about these tools register for the Faculty Discovery Lab and Lunch on 3/9 from 11:50-1:15
Google Drive is another tool in the article. CofC has adopted Google apps for Education and Google Drive is available to all faculty and students. There will be a number a session on Google Drive: “Using Google docs for a final project in place of a final exam,” “Introducing Students to Collaboration Using Google Docs,” “Improve Collaboration and Efficiency with Google Docs” as well as “E-portfolios, Google Sites and Digital Projects,” and Using Blogger for Class Notes.” Check the Conference Schedule for dates and times.
PollEverywhere is listed in the article and although there will not be a session on it at the upcoming conference I think it is important to note that CofC does have a educational license to PollEverywhere. To learn more about it and view step by step tutorials visit: http://blogs.cofc.edu/tlttutorials/2013/09/10/poll-everywhere/
Like PollEveyerywhere, both Twitter and PowToon make an appearance in the article and are not featured sessions at the Conference, but TLT has created step by step instructions for these tools and if you would like to learn more about them contact your Instructional Technologist.