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…
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 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…
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.
I came across this TedTalk today…I was initially viewing talks about teachers who take risks. But I found this one held my attention – for the exact reason that the clip is about: the speaker has magic. He has a way of communicating that captivates listeners, keeps them on the edge of their seat waiting to hear what he’ll say next. Is he taking a risk by using his magic? I think so! Straying from traditional teaching methods tends to get a lot of raised eyebrows. And how about the way colleagues may react? (Could be interest, feeling upset, envy, or even jealousy). But if the outcome is having engaged and interested students, then would it not be a risk worth taking?
It’s appropriate to reflect on the topic of ‘Thankful’ on this Thanksgiving Day. My Facebook feed was filled with friend’s posts of family, turkey dinners, and pumpkin patches. There are so many things I am thankful for, it would be difficult to sum them up into a photo or status update (although pumpkin pie is pretty high up on the list). Of course I’m thankful for family and friends. But I’m also thankful for so many amazing opportunities in my career as a nurse, and now nursing instructor. It’s a very rewarding career – one in which I feel like I often receive more than I give. And I am seeing that teaching is very much the same. It’s an honor to be helping students in their learning journey to become nurses. It’s a privilege to be a small piece of their education and nursing influence. So for each of my students, I am thankful. I’m a mere ripple in their lake of learning, but for me, that is huge.
Here is a cute video from my favorite Kid President – his list of 25 reasons to be thankful (now if only he could become the next real president…):
Well, this is an interesting teaching concept, excerpted from Teaching Naked (Bowen, 2012), but actually referenced from another book I have previously blogged about, Bain’s What the Best College Teachers Do (2004).
In short, the professor writes WGAD (who gives a damn) on the whiteboard each day. Students can interrupt at any time during the class with “WGAD!”
No, the instructor isn’t supposed to get all flustered or offended. The instructor couples this motivating offer to debate anything with the expectation that students keep an open mind and honestly debate both sides of every WGAD objection. Another aspect of this technique that I like is that it really helps learners make relevance of the material. Adult learners especially need to know why they need to know something. Allowing them to ask WGAD helps them to make this connection.
I am teaching a “nursing fluff” kind of course. Or at least, that’s how the health promotion course is perceived by the students and even by some senior faculty. And it’s true, even without taking the course the students would probably turn out to be good nurses. However, if I offered the WGAD opportunity, perhaps they would value the content of the course and discover how it can change their views of nursing. It would also be a good challenge for me to be able to think on my feet and make connections between course content and nursing practice. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to try this technique on my first time through the course….but maybe next semester!?
Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Bowen, J.A. (2012). Teaching naked: How moving technology out of your college classroom will improve student learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Faculty Focus is a free email newsletter that provides subscribers with various articles and information about aspects of teaching in higher education. (Link to their webpage from my blog!).
If you’re interested in the use of technology in the classroom, they have created a special report entitled Teaching with Technology: Tools and Strategies to Improve Student Learning. In their report, they include articles on 13 different topics that contain practical information and links to useful resources. For those who are wanting some guidance on how to use technology in the classroom (be it online or face-to-face), this may be a useful report (and it’s free)!
A mere 8 years ago, I was finishing up nursing school. About 2 semesters prior to my graduation, my school purchased 2 very cool, high-tech simulation mannequins. These were supposed to be the “best” teaching tool that could be offered in a nursing lab. The mannequins were capable of breathing, going to the bathroom, bleeding, vomiting, even giving birth. What better way to learn than to practice as close to real-life scenarios as possible without actually practicing on real patients!? Well, I actually wouldn’t know.
Why? Because there were no instructors who received training to be able to operate these mannequins. And so we missed out. We missed out on skill acquisition, developing of critical thinking and clinical judgment, and also on dealing with complex nursing scenarios. We got these skills and experiences in our real-life clinical experiences, but our school was putting patients at unnecessary risk by having us practice on them rather than using the new technology at the school.
Technology is a tricky thing….it requires constant learning to be able to keep up. Unfortunately, my instructors at that time weren’t up to the task. But instructors especially need to keep up if they want to provide the best learning possible to students.