February 24, 2011

Learning through Teaching

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“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth learning can be taught.” — Oscar Wilde

Russell L. Ackoff tells a wonderful story in the podcast for the book he wrote with Daniel Greenberg “Turning Learning Right Side Up:”

After lecturing to undergraduates at a major university, I was accosted by a student who had attended the lecture. After some complimentary remarks, he asked, “How long ago did you teach your first class?”


February 23, 2011

Group Exams and Quizzes: The Benefits of Student Collaboration

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Have you ever used any sort of group testing activity? The approach is not without benefits. Most students find exams enormously stressful and abundant research documents that high levels of test anxiety can compromise performance. Said more bluntly, students can know the information, but be so anxious they can’t summon it for the exam. Letting students work together on test questions reduces that anxiety considerably. It could be a case of “misery loves company” or the “two heads are better than one” scenario.


February 22, 2011

Using Blended Learning to Transform the Classroom Experience

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When we maintain our focus on learning, the means used to help students learn dominates our thinking. Too often teachers can fall into the trap of testing students only on lower-level material (knowledge and comprehension questions). When exams become the only means to assess learning, a teacher becomes a carpenter with only a hammer: all problems start to seem like nails.


February 21, 2011

Putting the Learning in Blended Learning

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Blending learning involves using a combination of face-to-face interactions and online interactions in the same course. Students still regularly meet in the classroom in a blended course, but the frequency of those meetings is usually decreased. The goal of blended learning is to facilitate greater student learning and could thus fit within a learner-centered paradigm.




February 16, 2011

Roll Call for Learning: Putting a New Twist on an Old Administrative Chore

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A student once lamented that he had attended a class for an entire semester and uttered only one word: “Here.” Although taking attendance is a routine administrative chore, it is not related to teaching and learning, right? Wrong! You can turn roll call into a tool that implants the topic for the ensuing class in students’ minds, sets the tone for the class, and encourages the development of community in your classroom by using a variety of attendance prompts.


February 15, 2011

10 Benefits of Getting Students to Participate in Classroom Discussions

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Participation is one of those workhorse instructional strategies—easy to use, straightforward, expected, and often quite successful at accomplishing a number of learning goals. It’s good to remind ourselves of its many different uses, especially on those days when getting students to participate feels like pulling hens’ teeth.