Thursday, February 12, 2009

Is there still a place for Lectures??







As we begin to acknowledge the research around learning retention and effectiveness, it is difficult to continue to make a case for lectures. Notice how much is retained from a lecture format (learning Pyramid), and also note the effectiveness of a learning experience that relies heavily on verbal symbols (Dale's Cone).

I acknowledge that while this research that was conducted in the 1960's looked at large numbers of students and classes, it does not identify specific pedagogical approaches, the quality of the lectures or the technologies now available.

Recently, I had a conversation with a colleague of mine who teaches professional communication and media. We were discussing the role of lectures and she has decided to go back to lectures, but with a difference. In this course she explains the curriculum with current public relation examples. Those that are currently making media coverage.

As a result of this approach her preparation must happen on the "fly" and cannot easily be re-used the next time she teaches the subject.
In her lectures she proposes to discuss the current media events and make direct connections to these by referring to the curriculum available to the students online. Now, she has both face to face online and international students who are taught by tutors at other campuses. The interactive lectures she is to conduct will be video recorded and placed up on the subject Website so that all students can view these as streaming media files.
This means that she prepares once, but all students have a chance to have an equivalent learning experience.

Overall, this approach is not seeking to replicate the learning material already available online, but to "Value Add" to her students learning experience in an interactive lecture format. She intends to discontinue the previous two hour tutorials, and in doing so, will gain additional preparation time.

So is the lecture "dead", not with clever pedagogy.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Technology Mediated Student Feedback

This week I had the good fortune to attend a morning session facilitated by a colleague of mine, David Jones. David introduced a group of academics new to our institution is some of the more contemporary views on education and literature that supports this.
I'd come to the induction course to catch up with a colleague of mine who I'm collaborating with to re-write an elearning course for undergraduate students at our university--sorry I've digressed somewhat form the purpose of this post.

At this session I met another colleague, Dave, who teachers OHS online and who is in fact located in another state. All of Dave's students are online and he shared his approach to voice feedback for his students assessment submissions--he says it's much faster and his students prefer it.

Coincidentally, I've been relatively active in the Mahara community lately as I'm incorporating e.portfolios into the assessment of all the courses I coordinate. Currently we are discussing the types of social networking software we would like to be able to be imported in to Mahara as educational artifacts that can be then placed in a particular "View" and made available to a specific audience. One of the suggestions was "VoiceThread.
Upon further investigation, I've found this software to be extremely flexible and useful for providing feedback to students who are involved in the submission of visual products.
Not only for educators to provide feedback, but also for their peers to do so as well. See and example below:

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Gaining Traction in Schools

One of the problems with introducing radically new approaches to learning in conservative institutions like schools is that teachers need concrete examples of how these approaches have been used in similar organisations elsewhere.
The most recent edition of eschool news offers two excellent articles that report excellent practice with the use of elearning technologies and Project-Based Learning.
To be able to read the full articles you will need to register (for free) with eschool news.

Article 1: Technology empowers differentiated instruction

This article demonstrated how technology can be used to make a variety of learning activities available for students to choose so that their learning preferences are valued.

Article 2:
Project-based learning engages students, garners results

This article demonstrated how authentic projects can be used to develop 21st century skills and, more importantly, engage students who would otherwise lose interest in school and drop out.

Both of these excellent articles give concrete examples of how learning can engage students and develop higher order thinking.