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.”
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.”
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’ve been involved in an interesting discussion with my PIDP colleagues. There was a suggestion (backed by research evidence), that a student’s social environment can have an impact on their academic success. Authors stated that most students who surround themselves with high-achievers improved their performance over time; the opposite was also true. (To see the article, click here.)
But, what about John Hattie’s synthesis of over 800 studies that looked at student achievement? I’ve discussed his idea of Visible Learning earlier in my blog, but just to review, he designed a meta-analysis and came up with a way of ranking various influences related to learning and achievement. And where did peer influences fit on his list? Nearly halfway down the list of positive influences. At the top of his list is the teacher’s estimates of achievement. So…perhaps the teacher estimates similar achievement for certain pockets of students? If this is the case, both studies could be true… Or does peer influence not really matter all that much?
Here’s a neat infographic depicting Hattie’s results:
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.
It is well-documented that instructors must receive and respond to feedback in order to improve their teaching practices. As instructors, we ought to seek out feedback from our students and our peers (self-directed learning). One formal way of doing this is by using a Critical Incident Questionnaire. I chose to design an infographic for the digital media project in PIDP 3260. I had never made an infographic before, but I’m pleased with how it looks. Next up is actually using the CIQ in the class!
An opinion piece in the NY Times speaks to the value of lecturing. In a world where we encourage active learning and student-based learning and group work, it may seem that the lecture has become an ancient teaching method. In fact, the article quotes a Harvard physicist who declares that “it’s almost unethical to be lecturing.”
But the editorialist suggests that lecturing is essential for teaching the basic life skills of comprehension and reasoning. And I agree with Molly Worthen on this…students today have difficulty focusing. There are so many distractions in the classroom, at home – everywhere. A lecture forces students to slow down, turn off technology and listen. Lecturing helps students to understand concepts and make connections in their learning. To listen to a lecture is not passive learning, particularly if the student takes notes. I really enjoyed reading this editorial, and I think it’s a worthwhile read for all instructors – especially those who feel pressured to always “entertain” their students.
One of the main features of university life is sitting through seemingly endless lectures. In most degrees, lectures are going to be a pretty major part of the learning process. Some will be the kind of lecture that you look forward to, either because it’s a great topic that you’re super interested in, or because you fancy the lecturer. Unfortunately, it’s much more likely that lectures will be a chore that you feel happy to skip should you sleep in an extra 10 minutes and realise that coffee beforehand is no longer an option. Considering how most lectures are already going to be tough, I’ve put together some tips on how to make each one a little bit better for all of us. To do this, I’ve used my vast experience in attending the first three lectures of any given subject I’m supposed to be doing.