Posts Tagged ‘learning’
This video might provide useful information to marketers or serve as an impetus to use videos in advertising. But I see a message for those of us in education.
There is at least one thing better than the power of video to show you something. It is the power to create your own videos to teach, to learn, and to learn by teaching.
I love this Teens React video by the Fine Bros.
I must remember to add it to my list of reflective resources for participants of my game-based learning workshops.
They might ponder on questions like:
- What is the effect of failure in this game?
- Why to the teens persist?
- When and why do they stop?
- How is the teaching and learning different from what happens in a traditional classroom?
- How do you transfer these game-based principles to teaching (and even if you do not play games)?
While the workshops were well-received, I was not content. I conducted a post-mortem on the last day to provide just-in-time instruction and feedback for my staff. There is nothing like recent memory, learning by doing, and critical reflection to create painful but meaningful learning.
You can deliver a pizza. You can deliver a lecture. You can also deliver a lecture like a pizza, hopefully hot, delicious, and ready to eat.
But you cannot deliver learning.
Talk is cheap (OK, the speaker may be expen$ive). Even the most inspiring lecture, talk, or storytelling session is just words.
The longstanding joke is that NATO is short for “no action, talk only”. Learning is a result of moving, not just being moved. There must be jolt or shift in values, mindsets, behaviours, etc.
Even this reflection is just words. Evidence of learning is in the actions that we take to change people, processes, and products.
What have you changed in the course of your work?
Today’s reflection has been brought to you by Captain Obvious. But since some folks are not aware of this alternative hero, I am providing a soapbox for him to stand on.
Sometimes I wonder if the conversations that my wife and I have over dinner and YouTube videos have any impact on my son.
Yes, we watch YouTube videos and not television programmes over dinner. We talk about them and we unconsciously model communication and thinking skills for our son. This was not obvious to me until a recent father-son chat.
Every weekday I ask my son about his school day and his homework. Practically every day the answers are the same: Meh, boring, and arrgh!
Except one day. My son asked me why he had to perform science experiments to answer questions they already knew the answers to.
How many teachers or research scientists ask themselves this question? It was a particularly good question because it critiqued the purpose of doing experiments and the strategy for teaching science.
The standard response to this question might revolve around learning or practising the scientific method. But the core issue is really about whether the focus is developing a discipline or being driven by curious discovery.
Any good teacher would want his/her students to have both. That said, I would wager that most teachers would err on the side of content delivery and disciplined thinking. But what if the teaching of science as a discipline takes out the joy of discovery?
This is one reason why we have the dichotomy of formal learning in school and informal learning elsewhere. There are rules, methods, and objectives in school, but they typically suck the life out of learning.
Outside of school the learning is looser and practically undisciplined in the sense that it does not start or end with subject silos, specific instructional objectives, or time-tested strategies.
The latter sort of learning is like how a child catches values, listening skills, and thinking skills at a daily setting like dinner conversation.
We need both formal and informal channels, of course. But I would err on the side of the informal if they are going to help my son develop the mindset he needs for his future.
by Ken Whytock
One thing an educator can do with a flipped classroom is to differentiate for learning. After all, the point of flipping is to focus on the learner and learning.
Why differentiate? For the simple reason that no two learners are exactly alike. The ideal would be to individualize, but this can be difficult with large classes. The compromise is to cluster students into relatively homogenous groups based on abilities, preferences, or some other relevant trait. (There is also room for heterogenous groups, but that is another story.)
Another reason for differentiating is to provide choice. If flipped learning is to nurture self-directed and ultimately independent learners, then they must be given choices on how they learn. (With curricular constraints, it might not be realistic to provide indefinite choices on what they learn.)
What choices can educators provide learners?
There is the choice of content. By this I mean the medium the content is on (e.g., books, websites, videos, simulations, games, the teacher as source) as well as the selection of topic or level or topic (e.g., remedial, beginner, intermediate, advanced).
The task is also something that can be chosen. The deliverable might be done in class, online only, or both. It might be written, drawn, spoken, or otherwise performed. The learning strategies are just as rich: Collaborative projects, individual exploration, group inquiry, etc.
Depending on the content and task, the assessment would also vary but match the content and task. Something that is performance-based (e.g., a speech) should not be force fit and assessed only as a written assignment.
There is a variety of assessment options: rubrics, e-portfolios (evidence-based, focusing on processes and products), checklists, teacher observations, quizzes, peer feedback, and so on.
If flipping is compared to food preparation, then differentiating is a buffet that provides healthy choices for all patrons. Whatever the choices, there should be staples in the buffet that the patrons must partake. They should all have some individual work and group work. They should all learn to reflect critically and self-evaluate.
Ultimately, the learner should address these questions:
- What did I learn?
- How did I learn it?
- Why is it important?
- What evidence do I have for learning?
Apparently you can relight a candle by igniting the smoke of a recently extinguished candle.
If you were a science teacher and you learnt this “trick”, would you leverage on the wonderment this generates and make it a teachable moment? Or would you ask your learners to find out why? What else might you do?
What you do depends on many things, of course. If you are pressured by a packed curriculum and tests that dictate what to cover, then you might do neither.
What you might want to do reflects your teaching philosophy.
Leveraging on the teachable moment could be the mark of a creative and responsive teacher. But I think that an educator who gets his/her students to investigate why the candle smoke lights up a candle helps his/her students learn to think and act like scientists.
The first person focuses on teaching that hopefully leads to learning. The second focuses on the learner and learning. The first person might want students to learn ABOUT science. The other wants students to BE scientists.
It might have been William Butler Yeats who declared:
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
Which would you rather do? Which would you rather be? Which do our kids need more?