A number of higher education–focused sessions at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference touched on issues surrounding student retention and completion—and with the costs of tuition, housing, and materials constantly rising, saving students money is a major consideration. When the conversation includes state and community colleges, and a student body that may have less access to financial resources, finding strategies to cut costs becomes more important than ever. Open educational resources (OER)—freely accessible texts and media that faculty can assemble, repurpose, and package under open access agreements for teaching and research—are a rapidly growing option.
Traditionally, we give and receive feedback at the end of projects, assignments, and units. But is this the best way to ensure progress? Researchers are saying it’s not, especially when it comes to encouraging creativity. For optimal academic achievement, teachers and students should consider placing feedback somewhere in the middle.
Across diverse districts I have asked teachers how they like to learn and what they want out of their professional learning opportunities. Over and over I hear the same kinds of responses and wishes for how they could learn. There is a deep desire to develop their practice, not just be talked to but be inspired, valued, and pushed to take their practice to the next level. To help teachers shift their practices and make learning experiences for their students the best they can be, these are the desired characteristics of professional learning that shifts practices:
These 10 characteristics likely do not come as a surprise as they align with much of what we know about the power of purpose, motivation, and empowerment in learning. The problem is that they so rarely represent how teachers learn despite what we know. Why?! Well, most often because it requires leaders and designers of these experiences to trust the learners, be flexible to meet their needs, allow for diverse pathways and be open to new ideas.
Often pressed for time and trying to fit it all in, many take short cuts to ensure that they have covered it all rather that engage in deep learning. Another challenge is that many have not truly experienced this type of learning in their formal education, which makes it hard to imagine how to create new and better experiences. Without new models, people tend to revert back and recreate their own experiences.
How Student Video Presentations Can Build Community in an Online Course Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription) (blog) It may sound pretty routine to convert a course to an online format, but doing so presents many unexpected challenges and...
When I worked with student teachers on developing effective lesson plans, one thing I always asked them to revise was the phrase “We will discuss.”
We will discuss the video.
We will discuss the story.
We will discuss our results.
Every time I saw it in a lesson plan, I would add a note: “What format will you use? What questions will you ask? How will you ensure that all students participate?” I was pretty sure that We will discuss actually meant the teacher would do most of the talking; He would throw out a couple of questions like “So what did you think about the video?” or “What was the theme of the story?” and a few students would respond, resulting in something that looked like a discussion, but was ultimately just a conversation between the teacher and a handful of extroverted students; a classic case of Fisheye Teaching.
The problem wasn’t them; in most of the classrooms where they’d sat as students, that’s exactly what a class discussion looked like. They didn’t know any other “formats.” I have only ever been familiar with a few myself. But when teachers began contacting me recently asking for a more comprehensive list, I knew it was time to do some serious research.
by Sasha A. Reese, Education Information Technologies Over the last decade online education has emerged as a way for students and faculty to collaborate more freely, attain greater flexibility, and utilize new media to learn.
"With the Internet exploding with information resources and tools for learning, teachers can be facilitators of information with a greater emphasis on explanation and critical thinking as opposed to the dissemination source. Formal learning systems have in some cases been slower to adopt this model, rightfully concerned with accuracy of material and consistency; yet with ever increasing numbers of individuals accessing information in learning environments, the necessity of these formal systems to adopt technological change is very clear."
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