Our Education System Conflicts With the Science of Learning

 

Our brains are not designed to learn in what we consider a typical setting.  Classrooms and lectures are recent constructs, and in fact the brain is a “forager” well equipped to collect information informally, on the go.  Benedict Carey shares his theory on Big Think, where he explains there no one-size-fits all tactic for learning…

“He explains the importance of sleep, as it’s the brain’s method of consolidating a day’s lessons. He defends the act of forgetting, as it allows for stronger retention after re-learning like the building of a memory muscle. Daydreaming and distraction, in certain contexts, can actually boost your learning ability.”

via Our Education System Conflicts With the Science of Learning | Big Think | IdeaFeed.

Digital Media Plus Teaching Equals Support for Freedom

There is ongoing debate about technology in the classroom, erupting again in the past week when Clay Shirky (NYU) wrote an article about his classroom. He is no longer allowing laptops or devices.  This survey of 10,000 high school students asked if technology made them smarter, not as smart, or if they believed the tool was not important – it’s how we use it.  They chose the last view.  From MediaShift/PBS.

“A new survey of more than 10,000 high school students lends support to that last view. Amid an explosion in social and mobile media – their media – high school students are supporting freedom of expression in record numbers, and are even more likely to do so if they also have had a class in the First Amendment.”

via News for High Schools: Digital Media Plus Teaching Equals Support for Freedom | Mediashift | PBS.

15 Questions To Help Students Respond To New Ideas

 

In learning and its design, we have always referred to essential or generative questions.  Through the use of questions, deeper learning objectives are often recognized.  Thoughts are generated and connections are made.  In TeachThought, Terry Heick asks us to think about how we can use questions in ways that work best with the Google generation.  Information is ubiquitous, but helping them slow down to navigate information requires supporting them.  Using these questions is a way of teaching them to think. “Metacognition isn’t a matter of a “lesson,” or a teacher telling students it’s something they should do. Rather, it’s a matter of habit. Habits are everything. So, below are 15 questions to help students respond to new ideas, and begin to establish the kinds of habits that make thinkers, and just maybe, starting telling you what you want to hear.”

via 15 Questions To Help Students Respond To New Ideas.

Adapting student assessment to the needs of a digital age

In digital environments there is still not a clear answer about best practice or efficacy of assessments.  One thing we do know – digital environments require a different type of assessment and contextual lens through which to gauge meaning-making  .  But how do learning designers make decisions about effective and comprehensive assessments of understanding?  Every course is different – whether quantitative or qualitative.  In this article, Tony Bates shares his thoughts about assessment in the digital age.  “instructors should think about design through the lens of constructing a comprehensive learning environment in which teaching and learning will take place. I have been working through the various components of a learning environment, focusing particularly on how the digital age affects the way we need to look at some of these components.”

via Adapting student assessment to the needs of a digital age.

Informal or “Less Formal” Learning?

In order to assess how people define “informal learning” in the workplace, Jane Hart did a survey for an eLearning Guild report and asked respondents for their definitions. – “The first question asked respondents to select five words or phrases they felt best described the term “informal learning.” The purpose of this question was to see if respondents understood the term informal learning similarly to how experts understand it.”  The chart above shows the responses.

A copy of the report is at the link as well.

via eLearning Guild Research: Informal or “Less Formal” Learning? by Patti Shank : Learning Solutions Magazine.

Digital Tools Can’t Magically Create Connections

 

There are a number of digital tools used to make social connections, all with different purposes.  danah boyd’s recent book, “It’s Complicated, The Social Lives of Networked Teens” shares her as-always profound understanding of how networked spaces work.  In this article from DML Central, Nicole Mirra shares a review of one of danah and Harold Jenkins’ recent book talks and suggests ways in which some of the points made in the discussion geared for parents can also be used as catalysts for meaningful conversations between educators and their students.

1. “Tools that can connect us don’t do so automatically — online spaces are often just as segregated as other social spaces.”boyd and Jenkins explained that while it may appear that digital tools automatically inspire connection across boundaries, the reality of how people use them often produces increased isolation socioeconomically and ideologically……”

via Digital Tools Can’t Magically Create Connections | DMLcentral.

2014 Student and Faculty Technology Research Studies

1/3 of faculty have taught an online class in the past year, and 62% of those faculty say that online learning will lead to pedagogical breakthroughs, according to a new study done by Educause.  Educause, a higher ed technology organization, is likely sharing information from its own member base who are all technology users – which is a subset of the total faculty population – but it is still very interesting.  Shared by Daniel Christian, here are some key findings.

 

“Faculty recognize that online learning opportunities can promote access to higher education but are more reserved in their expectations for online courses to improve outcomes.

Faculty interest in early-alert systems and intervention notifications is strong.

The majority of faculty are using basic features and functions of LMSs but recognize that these systems have much more potential to enhance teaching and learning.

Faculty think they could be more effective instructors if they were better skilled at integrating various kinds of technology into their courses.

Faculty recognize that mobile devices have the potential to enhance learning.”

via 2014 Student and Faculty Technology Research Studies [Educause/ECAR].

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