It’s hard to believe I’m in the last week of PIDP 3240 (online)! And that means it’s time to wrap-up the blogging – for now. It’s been a busy, but enjoyable, 8 weeks…lots of great discussions with peers, some cool new web 2.0 tools to try, and of course having the motivation to blog regularly.
When I resurrected this blog for PIDP 3240, my initial post was about teaching naked (eek!). I was confused…why is a course about media-enhanced learning using a book that says get technology out of the classroom??? Working through the course text (entitled ‘Teaching Naked’) and through the online discussion forums, I’d like to share a few things I have discovered about teaching naked.
First truth: There is no need to remove clothing. Ha!
Second truth: Technology in learning is inevitable, and it can be a very good thing. The best, and most common way for students to first be exposed to new material is online. Technology has given us more content and more ways to deliver the content.
Third truth: Face time is too valuable to waste. Our classes need to deliver something more than what students would get if they just stayed home and accessed the online resources. We need to make class time meaningful – something they don’t want to miss. If they can just get all the info online, why bother showing up?
What really hit home for me about Teaching Naked was that students need and crave connections – with their instructor and with their peers. Technology is great, but it is only a means to an end. Students want instructor contact, discussions, opportunities for feedback, engagement, social/professional bonding. And instructors want the same thing.
Teaching is about balance. The perfect mix of technology, teaching practices and human contact…
A PIDP 3240 colleague commented on my recent blog post (Online learning -> brain damage???), thanking me for addressing the topic and shared her views on the importance of meditation. And she’s absolutely right! In this world where we are surrounded by technology, our brains will surely benefit from a little bit of meditation and striving for mindfulness. I discovered this website: The Mindful Teacher, which aims to help teachers reclaim peace and cultivate attention. The website provides opportunities for discussion, resources, online courses, and even daily morning, midday, and evening guided meditations. To start your day with a meditation geared for teachers, check out the daily morning meditation here!
I LOVED this article!! I posted it on our PIDP 3240 discussion forum and it generated a lot of commentary. Peers were intrigued, interested and totally engaged in discussing this article. In the article, the author states that instructors who were involved in the Virtual College at his school were actually not interested in technology at all….they wanted to learn ways they could increase social interaction. Likewise, students wanted instructor contact. Although we get very excited about new technology and great new tools, we still need to maintain the human connection. The author sums it up well: “A blend of teaching practices, technology, and basic human contact just might be the recipe needed” (Buemi, 2015).
I tend to agree very much so with Buemi. Although I like the options that technology gives us, I still like the human connection, between students and instructor. Linking back to the hybrid course delivery model, this is a great way to achieve exactly the perfect recipe that Buemi describes. Does anyone else see the risk of technology interfering with human connection in the classroom?
“Our excitement over the latest technology has started focusing on the wrong thing. It ought to reside in the praxis of teaching, not the tool.”
Here’s an interesting spin on teaching! And no, I don’t mean the band.
“ACDC Leadership and Consulting was created by Jacob Clifford in 2007. We are dedicated to creating student-focused teaching resources that make learning exciting, powerful, and fun. We offer teachers, schools, and districts a variety of programs, activities, and workshops. […] we have what you need to get students out of their seats and into the curriculum.” http://www.acdcleadership.com/
One example of a student project using the ACDC program is having the students create a music video using course content as lyrics. I remember taking anatomy and physiology and wishing it could be converted into song lyrics…the terminology would be much easier to remember if I could sing through it!
Here’s another example of using movies/music to help student remember content that may be difficult to recall: (I shared it with my nursing class and they loved it!)
The damaging effects that screen time has on individuals has been thoroughly researched and well documented. However, when studies recommend to limit screen time, they are generally referring to recreational screen time. So where does necessary (work/school-related) screen time fit into the equation?
Surely our bodies suffer the same health issues whether or not we are logged in for pleasure or business. So it is interesting to me that with the explosion of online education, no one really speaks about the health concerns associated with this kind of screen time. I recognize that online courses are more involved than matching various candies in a row, however, our bodies are surely suffering the same health effects. Sedentary lifestyle, increased risk of obesity, heart attack, stroke, decreased vision, poor concentration, brain atrophy, and the list goes on… (As I sit in front of the computer typing this, I can feel my pulse rate rising with unease).
Universities need to keep up with the times and offer online learning, I get it. Learners want convenience, flexibility, and online courses offer all this and more. Online learning also saves the learner and the school money (no room booking fees, resources available online, etc.). But has anyone really considered the costs… the ones we cannot put a monetary value on…?
To read about the damaging effects of screen time on the brain, click here.
“Taken together, [studies show] internet addiction is associated with structural and functional changes in brain regions involving emotional processing, executive attention, decision making, and cognitive control.” –research authors summarizing neuro-imaging findings in internet and gaming addiction”
The Mozart Effect isn’t a new theory. The phrase was coined in 1991 and the idea is that music (specifically, listening to Mozart) somehow improves the brain.
In our PIDP 3240 discussion forum however, a colleague revealed that she prefers to listen to classical Indian music while studying. Interestingly, this was not related to her cultural background. I had never considered that other forms of “classical” music may also have some positive effect on learning. I did a little searching, and it turns out that there are actually 5 recommended types of music to enhance learning.
Judging by the multi-million views on Youtube videos of “Study Music”, many people subscribe to this theory. It doesn’t work for everyone, and it won’t work for all learning tasks, but perhaps it’s worth a try…
With all this discussion of bringing technology into nursing, it’s important to remember that there are some essential nursing skills that are very low-tech. I kind of alluded to this in my post on Virtual Reality…these are the skills that can’t be taught with technology alone. I’m talking about:
interpersonal and communication skills
caring qualities (kindness, warmth, compassion)
Don’t get me wrong…we need technology to help us learn and advance, but we cannot be nurses without these low-tech skills. As the American Sentinel University states so clearly, technology may be fine for nurses, but “technology can only work for patients when it’s combined with highly competent, relationship-based care. And this is why nurses must embrace their low-tech skills, as well as develop new high-tech competencies.”
Virtual reality = very cool! This would be a great in nursing education. Not only for patient simulations, practicing emergency situations, etc., but I also found this article about a virtual reality that includes Non-Player-Characters (e.g. family members, colleagues, visitors). In this particular article, it was about dealing with the behaviors of a patient with dementia – a tricky task. The VR allows the nursing students to practice their responses in a safe learning environment prior to testing out their techniques in the real world.
One interesting point this article makes, is that VR may replace traditional Simulation Based Training, as it is much more cost-effective than purchasing and maintaining mannequins, employment of simulation specialists, etc. Having gone to a nursing school that had SBT mannequins that no instructor knew how to use, I believe the addition of VR to nursing education would be very advantageous. But I do think there would need to be a balance of VR and practicing on real people. Nursing is a ‘people/caring’ profession – and that can’t fully be learned in a virtual setting.
Here is a little further reading to my last post. Apparently there are colleges that don’t give letter grades…not many, and none that I found in Canada. But here’s a look at some colleges in the States that have innovative grading systems.
I was interested in this topic after marking the first assignment for my nursing school class. One student made the comment, “oh, we thought it was just an easy assignment so that everyone would get guaranteed full marks as a head start on their final grade”. In personal appointments with more than one student who was unhappy with their mark, it was very obvious that they were hoping I’d change their score. Yet, it was very clear when they questioned my marking, that they did not understand the assignment. I felt then, like it was more the lost points they were worried about then learning why they had lost the marks.
It was the same when I marked the midterm exams… I sent everyone their mark and also let them know what the average score was. I received 4 emails back (in a class of 38), with students telling me they were disappointed in their score because they were anywhere from 0.2-0.4 points below the class average. As well, I had one student who was disappointed with her mark – 92%!! In fact, it was the highest mark in the class. This kind of response from the students, with a focus on the actual score, rather than the exam content, made me question whether the course means anything to them, or if it’s just a grade. Perhaps the assessment tools (exams and assignments) need to be re-vamped. Or, maybe, as this article suggests, the students should appreciate the challenges and the valuable lessons they learned in college, and strive for self-improvement as a result of hard work.