Teaching through “Questioning” Rather Than “Telling”

Harvard’s Project Zero: Part 2

One of the principles that is of major emphasis at Project Zero is teaching for understanding. The following video is loosely connected with this idea. I intend to go into greater depth about teaching for understanding in upcoming posts in this series.

“You can forget facts,
but you can not forget understanding.”

Eric Mazur, Harvard University

“How can you engage your students and be sure they are learning the conceptual foundations of a lecture course? In From Questions to Concepts, Harvard University Professor Eric Mazur introduces Peer Instruction and Just-in-Time teaching — two innovative techniques for lectures that use in-class discussion and immediate feedback to improve student learning. Using these techniques in his innovative undergraduate physics course, Mazur demonstrates how lectures and active learning can be successfully combined” (Source).

NOTE: This video is also available as part of another DVD, Interactive Teaching, which contains advice on using peer instruction and just-in-time teaching to promote better learning.

For more videos on teaching, visit the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University.

 

The Floating University: What If All the World’s Best Thinkers Could Be Your Teachers?

The Floating University is a new educational media venture that creates and distributes online multimedia curricula, rich in text, video, animation and graphics, that feature today’s biggest thinkers, practitioners and leading scholars.

Their  video lectures “are paired with related texts to introduce complex multidisciplinary subjects in an entertaining and engaging way. Whether you’re a life long learner or a current university student, [their] goal is to take you on a journey of discovery into myriad disciplines — to let you explore unfamiliar territory in a new light — and to pose questions that will encourage critical thinking and robust debate.

For schools, they “aim to invert the traditional lecture model of learning to focus valuable classroom time on interaction, exchange, and discussion, rather than on the passive consumption of live, in-person lectures” (Source).

The Floating University launched last fall with an online course offered at Harvard, Yale and Bard and delivered the key takeaways of an entire undergraduate education. Learn more in this short video.

Disrupting Education: There Are No Boundaries to Knowledge Anymore

This clip/commercial has really gotten in my head. I keep thinking about the juxtaposition of traditional education, innovation, reform, media and technology that this represents. I see this as a sort of a microcosm of what so many of us are talking about and involved in education. In this clip we see a disruptive innovation, online and/or hybrid learning, and some would argue that the classroom has been flipped. I see connections between this delivery platform and the notion that some have that failing schools would improve if they had access to the best teachers. In higher education reports indicate that more and more students are preferring the perceived flexibility of online courses and institutions are strategically planning how they intend to respond.

I’m also really curious to see how interactive and engaging the courses are and how effective they are at promoting creativity and critical thinking. These terms are used frequently on the site and in this video. I also noticed on the website that everything is optimized for use on the iPad which could open the door for interesting opportunities related to engagement. However, I often see teachers, schools, and institutions make similar claims under the pervasive but misguided notion that the very act of using technology makes instruction more effective and more engaging while automatically promoting higher levels of thinking. That just isn’t accurate. Given the reputations of the universities and lecturers involved as well as the feature-rich and content-rich Floating University and Big Think websites I’m going to speculate that they are doing at least a respectable job, and perhaps even better, in these areas. I would enjoy the opportunity to view and experience the Floating University’s courses for myself. The idea of “robust debate” in an online class sounds like fun to me!

Change is in the air. I wonder how all of this will play out over the next few years and subsequent decades. We’ll we resolve these matters or will they have to be solved by the next generation(s) of educators? Perhaps you’ll share your reactions to the the Floating University and to some of the thoughts I have shared.

Bill Cosby Addresses Graduates

Educator and comedian Bill Cosby spoke to the class of 2012 at Temple University’s 125th commencement. Dr. Cosby spoke about the troubles facing young people entering today’s work force and challenges the graduates to “wake up and not dream through” the next stage of life.

Hats off to this year’s graduates!

Our Book Is Now Available

Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education Programs: Key Issues

Drew Polly, Clif Mims, and Kay A. Persichitte

Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education ProgramsDescription

Though technology is expanding at a rate that is alarming to many skilled laborers concerned for the welfare of their industry and jobs, teachers should feel safe in their position; however, teachers who refuse to adapt to technology will be left behind.

Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education Programs: Key Issues offers professional teacher educators a rare opportunity to harvest the thinking of pioneering colleagues spanning dozens of universities, and to benefit from the creativity, scholarship, hard work, and reflection that led them to the models they describe. Contributors from 32 universities from around the world came together as authors of case studies, methodologies, research, and modeling to produce the work that went into this reference work. The target audience for this book includes faculty, leaders, teacher educators, and administrators within higher institution and every level of education.

Overview

Teacher education programs, more than ever before, are under severe scrutiny from national and state government, policy, and accreditation organizations. Teacher education programs are being asked to provide evidence of their impact on teacher candidates, as well as the indirect impact of teacher education programs on PK-12 students. Reforms in teacher education programs focus on the integration of 21st century skills, which include knowledge and skills related to information technology, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2004).  Technology is an essential component of these 21st Century reforms.

The focus of teacher education programs is to prepare teacher candidates to effectively teach in 21st Century learning environments. These classrooms have access to Internet-connected educational technologies, including computers, hand-held, or portable devices (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). As a result of the technology-rich nature of PK-12 schools, it is critical for teacher education programs to examine their effectiveness related to preparing teacher candidates to effectively use educational technologies to support teaching and learning processes.

The construct of Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) has explicated the knowledge and skills related to technology integration. Candidates develop the knowledge and skills related to technology integration through educational technology courses, methods courses, and technology-rich field experiences (Schrum, 1999). In this book, contributors address all of those contexts and provide examples of how technology-rich teacher education programs have developed TPACK and related skills in teacher candidates and faculty.

The purpose of this book is to provide examples and frameworks related to creating effective models of infusing technology into teacher education programs. This book is intended for faculty and others associated with teacher education programs as a resource of creating technology-rich teacher education programs.  As a result, each chapter has clear directions and implications for adopting their ideas into teacher education programs.  Further, the ever-changing landscape of what constitutes current educational technologies, has led the editors to focus this book on examples and models that address current educational technologies, but are likely to be relevant over the next decade or two as well.

The book is divided into six sections, which focus on:  Frameworks for Technology Integration, Web 2.0 technologies, Teacher Education Courses, Integrating Technology across Content Areas, Field Experiences, and Ways to Support Teacher Education Faculty.

Testimonial

“This book offers professional teacher educators a rare opportunity to harvest the thinking of pioneering colleagues spanning dozens of universities, and to benefit from the creativity, scholarship, hard work, and reflection that led them to the models they describe.  Teacher educators are, indeed, fortunate to have this opportunity to make informed decisions that will transform teacher education at this important moment in the history of education.”

Kyle L. Peck, Associate Dean for Outreach, Technology, and International Programs and Professor of Education at Penn State University, USA

Personal Note

I’d like to thank everyone that contributed to this book and worked with us during the past year and a half. I’d especially like to note the contributions and dedication of my friends, colleagues, and co-authors, Drew Polly and Kay Persichitte.

I hope this work enhances teacher education and technology integration ultimately blessing the education and lives of all learners.

– Clif

Suggested Reading: STEM Education

Texas Tech alumnus Rick Husband was the final ...
Image via Wikipedia

Overview

“The acronym STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The STEM fileds are those academic and professional disciplines that fall under the umbrella areas represented by the acronym. According to both the United States National Research Council and the National Science Foundation, the fields are collectively considered core technological underpinnings of an advanced society. In many forums (including political/governmental and academic) the strength of the STEM workforce is viewed as an indicator of a nation’s ability to sustain itself.”
(Source)


Suggested Reading

STEM at Work: Students become Physicians-in-Training

Where Will Your STEM Education Take You?

NASA Launches STEM Education Video Game

STEM Resources and Discovery Education


Tech & Learning’s Question of the Week

Which device do you think is best for 1:1?
Cast your vote.

Research and Collaborate with SimplyBox

SimplyBox is a free service that allows you to visually capture any part of a web page. As you collect items that you captured, you organize them in boxes. You can then share these items or boxes with friends, colleagues, … the world. The result is: efficient and visual collaboration around content. They call it “content networking.” (Source)

Overview

Research

  • Collect only the parts from a web page that you want.
  • Write your notes/comments on the content you found.
  • Have a direct link back to the sites each of your items were collected from.

Student Collaboration

  • Collect into a box useful content from the web and add your comments to it.
  • Share the box with your students, even if they are not SimplyBox users.
  • The students can add their comments and content.

Connecting Beyond the Classroom

  • Create boxes with content related to the different topics you teach.
  • Exchange the boxes with other teachers (even if in different schools!.
  • Have them help you find more content and engage their classes in the discussion.

Mobile Devices in the Classroom (Thinking Out Loud #4)

THINKING OUT LOUD
Episode 004

Teachers’ Online Identities

Miguel Guhlin has once again pushed my thinking. This time its about the issue of personal content that K-12 teachers post online. I’ve spent a lot of time researching, thinking about and discussing this topic, but it struck me that this issue is actually a lot hairier than I’ve previously realized. There are a lot of different aspects that need to be considered.

Here are a few points from Miguel’s post. I encourage you to consider each question twice asking yourself Do.. the first time and Should… the second time.

  • Do/Should school districts have any say about what a teacher does after hours?
  • Do/Should school districts have any say about what a teacher posts online?
  • Do/Should teachers represent the district after hours?

Rather than commenting on the discussion at this point, I hope to further it by asking a few more questions.

  • Do/Should schools districts have any say about what staff members (Secretary, custodian, cafeteria staff, bus driver, mechanic, maintenance, etc.) do after hours? Post online?
  • Do/Should parents and the community have any say in these matters?
  • How does this translate to higher education?
  • If the answers to these questions are “yes” then is the same true for individuals in other professions (Nurse, news reporter, radio DJ, police officer, elected official, unelected government employee, or store clerk)?