SPRI N #2 G 2012
featured in this issue Inverted Classroom
Did You Know?
Learn from Your Colleagues
Salman Kahn, founder of the Kahn Academy, sees video lectures as embodying the future of education. His not-forprofit company has produced more than 2700 videos on a variety of subjects from art history to math and at a variety of educational levels from kindergarten through college. The videos are watched by more than a million students a month around the world. To date, Kahn videos have not replaced lectures in college classrooms, although many individuals and institutions have shown an interest in what Kahn does. Articles in Time (11/16/11), The Chronicle of Higher Education (6/6/10), and Inside Higher Education (12/7/11) have profiled Kahn and discussed possible applications of his ideas to higher education. Moreover, his ideas are integral to what has been called the inverted classroom. While there is some dispute about who first coined the term “inverted classroom,” certainly an early use of the phrase can be found in an article by Lage, Platt, and Treglia, “Inverting the Classroom: A Gateway to Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment.” In the article, published in the Journal of Economics Education (2000), the authors discuss a pedagogical experiment they conducted in a microeconomics class at Miami University of Ohio. In which, they took activities that have traditionally taken place inside the classroom and placed them firmly outside. Elements of instruction in which their students were passive recipients (e.g., lectures) were done as homework at the student’s own pace, leaving time in class for active learning strategies that allowed students to analyze, apply, and otherwise engage with the material. Technology is at the heart of the inverted classroom. Lage, Platt, and Treglia used a variety of media to record their lectures, including videotapes and PowerPoint lectures with sound, and they made all the media available to students for home viewing. Jeremy Strayer at The Ohio State University used an intelligent tutoring system (a sophisticated version of computer-aided instruction) to replace lectures in his introductory statistics class. Recently, there has been a surge in the creation of apps that can transform a tablet computer into an electronic whiteboard. For example, “Explain Everything” ($2.99 for the i-Pad) allows an educator to do a demonstration using a stylus or finger to write on the i-Pad itself exactly as if it were a whiteboard, record the entire demonstration, then
post it for students to watch as many times as they need to. (A similar application for the tablet is “NotateIt” for about $32.00.) This technology is becoming more and more popular among mathematics teachers because it can change the dynamics of the classroom. A math instructor who used to have his or her back to students while working problems on the board, can now face students, write on the tablet (which is connected to a projector), record the explanation, then post the entire lesson for students to review at their own pace. The ability for students to listen actively without having to take copious notes on everything the instructor says encourages students to be active learners. This use of the technology could eventually lead the way to posting all the lectures and leaving class time for working through problems, answering questions, and one-on-one assistance. Although the death of the lecture has been widely discussed, the lecture may indeed be on the verge of a transmogrification. In a TED talk in 2009, Salman Kahn explained how he stumbled onto the idea of his academy. He was tutoring his cousins online, and decided to put a couple of his math lessons on YouTube. He received a number of complimentary posts as a result (including one from the mother of an autistic boy who was able to learn math concepts for the first time). But the biggest surprise was that Kahn’s cousins told him they liked him better on YouTube than in person. Once he got over the “backhanded nature” of that comment, Kahn says, he realized how important it was. His cousins liked him better because they could learn at their own pace, repeat materials as often as they needed, and take a break when they needed one. The idea of the inverted classroom is not without its drawbacks or detractors. Students don’t always take to active learning without resistance, many preferring to have instructors just tell them what they’re supposed to know. And instructors worry that students won’t watch the lectures if they aren’t required to be present for them in a classroom. And some instructors feel quite proprietary about their lecture material and don’t like the idea of making the fruit of their study and work so easily available. These are all important concerns and deserve to be a part of the discussion about the future of the lecture. Watch a video from Penn State entitled “Flipping the Classroom” here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26pxh_qMppE
HOT 5 Our Hot Five column has been promoted to the “Hot Ten.” In the past, we’ve profiled educational web sites, but in this issue we are going to mix things up a bit and feature other “hot properties.” Here are some hot (or cool) educational apps for the i-Pad, i-Phone, Tablets, and/or Androids.
The Elements: A Visual Exploration Price: $13.99
For anyone with an interest in science, it’s a must have. This powerful app provides detailed information in high-definition graphics for each element on the periodic table. See visual representations of each element, read about their specific attributes, and find examples of them in day-to-day life.
Shakespeare Pro Price: Free
This app contains the complete works of Shakespeare (41 plays, 154 sonnets and 6 poems, including some doubtful works) and a searchable concordance to find the exact word or phrase you’re looking for (with “relaxed” searching to find words close to your search term).
Wonders of Geology Price: $12.99
Michael Collier’s photos are breathtaking, and his narration is both informative and inspiring. The app contains almost 200 photos, illustrations and animations, and each one is narrated. Use the thumbnail gallery to find interesting photos or browse the table of contents. An easy-to-use, beautiful app.
Explain Everything Price: $2.99
An electronic whiteboard for your i-Pad. Write on a blank screen, annotate slides, and record lessons. Create dynamic interactive lessons that you can project in class and save to a variety of venues including YouTube.
Molecules Price: Free
Provides 3-dimensional renderings of molecules that can be rotated in any direction by moving your finger across the display. Resize the molecules by “pinching.” Look at an insulin molecule and contrast it with a molecule of caffeine. Search for molecules of any substance and study their structures. *Also available for the iPhone
The Elements Price: $1.99
For quick access to all 118 elements. Includes physical constants, periodic table view, list view, calculations, and swipe navigation.
Shakespeare’s Monologues Price: Free
This app links to the Shakespeare’s Monologues website. Users can search the monologues by gender, genre, or title.
Texas Paleontology Price: Free
Explore the paleontology of Texas through an interactive geologic timeline as well as maps of Texas Geological exposures. It also includes Google maps to help guide the user to interesting paleontological sites.
Interactive Whiteboard Price: Free
Use this virtual whiteboard to draw or to teach anything. Live settings menu with colors, width and more.Select parts of the drawing and move them around. Save and load drawings.
3-D Molecular Models Price: Free
View and rotate 3-D molecules. For each module there is an information page describing its characteristics.
VISIONARY Stephen Chew Samford University Professor
Dr. Stephen Chew is an award-winning teacher whose academic training in cognitive psychology has shaped his teaching and led him to create a series of popularvideos for students on how to study. In November 2011, Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, celebrated as Chew was named U.S. Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Chew has been a professor and chair of psychology at Samford since 1993. The Carnegie Foundation’s award recognizes undergraduate instructors who excel in teaching and mentoring. Chew beat out nearly 400 other applicants for the prestigious award. Chew, a Dallas native, received his doctorate from the University of Minnesota and his B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He’s trained as a cognitive psychologist, and his main areas of research are the cognitive basis of effective teaching as well as constructive and reconstructive memory. He has received numerous local and national awards for his teaching, including the John H. Buchanan Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching from Samford University and the Alabama Professor of the Year from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Chew is widely recognized as an authority on the research, theory, and practice of teaching. In his research, Chew is known for his work on the use of examples in teaching and the role of questions in learning. A particularly interesting aspect of Chew’s research has been on the misconceptions students bring with them into the classroom. Chew argues that misconceptions or misunderstandings cannot be easily corrected, even with astute teaching. Students’ ability to learn and understand information is influenced by what they believe to be true, and many are often resistant to change. Samford President Andrew Westmoreland described the Carnegie Foundation award as “the most prestigious teaching designation in American higher education.” According to Chew, “It is very humbling and it is also validating in terms of really focusing on undergraduate education as being an important and critical enterprise.” Chew himself hopes the award is something he can “live up to.” In addition, he regards the award as providing a forum to share more cognitive research about how teachers can teach and students can learn more effectively. “Once you adopt the attitude that the measure of teaching effectiveness is student learning, a lot of teaching’s most difficult conundrums become solvable,” Chew said during his comments at the awards ceremony. “You learn the difference between teaching that makes it easy for students to learn and teaching that makes it easy for students to make a good grade; you give up moving from teaching fad to teaching fad and start to develop knowledge that will move the whole teaching enterprise forward; you give up the idea that good
students make for good classes; and you realize that great teachers can create great students and great students . . . can create great teachers.” One of the accomplishments for which Chew has also received national recognition is a series of videos he originally created for Samford, which are now available on YouTube. Samford’s director of freshman life had asked Chew to prepare a presentation for incoming students on how to learn. The presentation was a huge success, but Chew noticed that students eventually “slipped back into old, bad habits.” This fact led Chew to transform his presentation into five videos with the collective title “How to Get the Most out of Studying. Below are descriptions and links.
Video 1: Beliefs That Make You Fail…Or Succeed
The first video examines common mistaken beliefs students often possess that undermine their learning. The video tries to correct those misconceptions with accurate beliefs about learning. Video 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH95h36NChI&feature= related
Video 2: What Students Should Understand About How People Learn The second video introduces a simple but powerful theory of memory, Levels of Processing, that can help students improve their study. Video 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9O7y7X EC66M&feature=related
Video 3: Cognitive Principles for Optimizing Learning The third video operationalizes the concept of level of processing into four principles that students can use to develop effective study strategies. Video 3: http://www.youtube.com/watc h?v=1xeHh5DnCIw&feature=related
Video 4: Putting the Principles for Optimizing Learning into Practice
The fourth video applies the principles of deep processing to common study situations, including note taking and highlighting while reading. Video 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9Gr OxhYZdQ&feature=related
Video 5: I Blew the Exam, Now What?
This video addresses what students should and should not do when they earn a bad grade on an exam. Video 5: http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=-QVRiMkdRsU
Birminham News article about the Carnegie award http://blog.al.com/sweethome/2011/11/samford_university_professor_w.html Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/ Chew’s Samford University profile (containing a list of his publications) http://howard.samford.edu/psychology/bio.aspx?id=2147485427
Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Book Review: Exploring Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind This book asks and tries to answer the question of whether or not individual academic disciplines have or should have what the authors call “signature pedagogies,” distinctive ways of “doing” in the discipline that are known to scholars in the field but are often not taught in introductory classes to college students. The authors point out that while professional programs usually teach students the specific skills and ways of thinking that will be needed as they enter their professions, disciplines such as literature and history often regard themselves as teaching generic skills, such as critical thinking and writing. One of the major questions asked by the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), the editors assert, is whether or not learning ought to reflect how disciplinary experts actually think and do. Each of the fifteen essays that form the chapters of this book attempts to answer that question, and the essays are divided into four sections: Humanities, Fine Arts, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics. One essay, for example, discusses how introductory history courses are taught and notes that most are content-driven. The authors are not able to point to a single signature pedagogy for history but feel they are on solid ground in asserting that students should be taught that history is a “contested discourse,” and that argument and interpretation are basic skills needed within contested discourses. They must also be able to distinguish between “unfounded opinion” and “wellsupported conclusions.” In “Unpacking a Signature Pedagogy in Literary Studies,” Nancy Chick theorizes that most teaching of literature involves “professorial packing,” in which the instructor presents “fully formed interpretations to students.” This is contrasted with
“unpacking,” which connotes opening up something, sifting out what’s inside, and exploring the contents.” Unpacking leads to “a sense of anticipation, delight, and wonder.” In other words, instructors should teach students what they do in “unpacking” a text and how to discover meaning for themselves. Although Chick cannot point to a single unifying pedagogy for literary studies, she advocates that instructors “teach the conflicts,” the debates and discussions that frame the discipline, including the question of the ultimate value of literary study itself. In “Mathematical Reasoning,” the authors note, the 1990s saw a deliberate attempt to refocus how calculus was taught. As this reform progressed, “an emerging signature pedagogy developed that includes teaching students to use multiple representations to reason about interesting and challenging real-world problems in a student-centered environment.” Students should do mathematics rather than sit in class and hear about mathematics. It is also important, Chick says, to teach students that perseverance in trying to solve a problem is an essential component of doing mathematics, and she calls for continuing research “to address instructional strategies, classroom environment, and assessment tools” in order to teach students to develop habits of perseverance and a positive disposition toward math. If you are interested in signature pedagogies, you will find much food for thought in this collection of essays. Ragan A. Gurung, Nancy L. Chick, and Aeron Haynie, eds. (2009) Exploring Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind.
Did You Know?
Julia Stasch of the MacArthur Foundation says “Digital technologies are helping to re-imagine learning, and badges are emerging as a new way to both encourage and demonstrate the acquisition of knowledge and skills of all kinds-in formal and informal settings.” What are badges? The concept arose among Web developers, who often write code collaboratively with strangers. The nature of their collaboration and their focus on successful outcomes led them to develop a system of awarding one another badges. As Cathy Davidson (author of Now You See It) in a blog post for the Washington Post notes, the whole idea behind the badges is really quite revolutionary. She says, “Millions of Web programmers worldwide have learned to innovate at a far faster pace than most of us and to evaluate one another rigorously through peer assessment.” The idea of this kind of rigorous and nuanced peer evaluation forming a digital resume for those who learn both inside and outside the academy has attracted a good deal of attention. Davidson’s foundation, HASTAC, has worked with the MacArthur Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation to run a $2 million Digital Media and Learning Competition for learning organizations, learning and assessment specialists, designers, and others to explore how digital badges can help people both learn and demonstrate their skills and knowledge. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has called badges a “game changing
strategy” and has joined the Department of Veterans Affairs Innovation Initiative to offer a $25,000 prize “for the best badge concept and prototype that serves veterans seeking good-paying jobs in today’s economy.” Will badges become a new way of documenting and validating learning? Will their use affect how colleges and universities do assessment? The Center thinks this may be a trend you should keep an eye on.
Learn more at:
Bateson, Trent. “Badges: What Impact Will They Have on eportfolios?” http://www.aaeebl.org/tbb?mode=PostView&bmi=829498 Davidson, Cathy. “Badges: A Solution to Our Teacher Evaluation Disaster?” http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/ post/badges-a-solution-to-our-teacher-evaluationdisaster/2012/02/06/gIQAHiNbvQ_blog.html Kilb, Sam. “Credentials: The Next Generation.” The New York Times, 11/14/11.
Learn from Your Colleagues! The Center is pleased to announce a series of workshops offered by our 2011-2012 Learning Community Facilitators. Having spent most of the year studying a variety of fascinating topics, the facilitators are now ready to share what they’ve learned with the rest of the BGSU campus community. The Center for Teaching and Learning is committed to offering opportunities to share information, experiences, and teaching techniques among faculty members. We have a wealth of experience right here on campus, and through its learning communities, discussions, and workshops, the Center strives to facilitate further discussion and transfer of knowledge. Mark your calendars now for one or all of these workshops. This is a great opportunity to participate in some of the stimulating conversations that are happening in our LCs. Join us. To register for these workshops visit our website http://www.bgsu.edu/ctl/ index.html, navigate to the Discussions/Workshops page, find the appropriate workshop, and click Register for Workshops.
“From Personal Accounts through Quantitative Studies: Engaging in the Research on Effective Teaching and Learning”
Wednesday, March 21
11:00 - 12:00
201 University Hall
“Improve Research Assignments”
Colleen Boff & Beatrice Guenther
Friday, March 23
11:00 - 12:00
201 University Hall
“Promoting Active Learning with Digital Resources”
Tuesday, March 27
2:00 - 3:00
201 University Hall
“Building Community Partnerships for Engaged Learning”
Tuesday, April 10
1:00 - 2:30
201 University Hall
“Experiences Teaching and Learning Diversity at BGSU: Responses from T & L Fair”
Dafina Lazarus Stewart & Susana Peña
Tuesday, April 10
1:00 - 2:00
201 University Hall
“How to Design Formative Assessment to Improve Instruction and Promote Self-Regulated Learning”
Bob Midden & Matt Partin
Tuesday, April 17
4:00 - 5:00
201 University Hall
“I-Books Author Workshop”
Anthony Fontana & Bonnie Mitchell
Friday, April 27
1:30 - 2:30
201 University Hall
This newsletter is a publication of the Center for Teaching and Learning Visit us online at www.bgsu.edu/ctl or in 201 University Hall.