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Active Learning Practicalities & Technology Jill Leonard Biology Dept.

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Presentation on theme: "Active Learning Practicalities & Technology Jill Leonard Biology Dept."— Presentation transcript:

1 Active Learning Practicalities & Technology Jill Leonard Biology Dept.

2 What is Active Learning? And what is it not? Student centered Gets the class focus off the instructor Not passive Students DO things (more than write notes) Takes place in the “lecture” classroom Not confined to “labs” or “discussion sections” Not the same thing as service learning, internships etc. (Very useful and sometimes called “active”)  Inquiry-based learning  This IS active learning, but not the only option

3 Does Place and Stuff matter?  Yes and No!  This room  Tables, whiteboards  Technology  Other spaces  Yes, you can use active learning pedagogy in just about any space  Yes, it is easier in some than in others

4 You will need to believe there is an issue to be effective  “Active Learning” requires YOU to buy into it and be able to sell it to your students  It is “non-traditional”  It is different  It can be a lot of work for the students  They are more responsible for their learning on a daily basis  You will NEED the students to buy in and they will be able to know if you are in doubt

5 What sold me?  Data  Learning physiology (neurobiology)  Data from educational settings  Some basic psychology  Personal experience  Exam grades on “thought” questions  “Big” concepts not sticking (What is a gene?)  Lack of info retention between courses (start over!)  My own experience of learning material The impact of active learning on student learning is illustrated in this graph that illustrates class averages on pre- and post-tests of fundamental conceptual knowledge in first- semester introductory physics. Learning gains in active-learning classes are typically two to three time higher in comparison to lecture courses. The data set includes more than 6500 students in 62 classes.(From R. Hake, 1998, Interactive-engagement versus traditional methods: A six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses, Am. J. Phys. 66: 64-74)R. Hake, 1998, Interactive-engagement versus traditional methods: A six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses, Am. J. Phys. 66: 64-74

6 Can you do this “a little”?  Yes!  “one timers”  bad idea…  Students need to get used to it!  YOU need to get used to it!  What you try may not be a good fit for you or your students or your subject  Try something and do it repeatedly  Can be a “small” activity  Think-pair-share, “explain to your neighbor”  Minute papers, muddiest points, etc.  “Explain the slide”  Lecture from NOT the front

7 Structure will help!  Course goals  Actually use them (scientists and their text books…)  Can you pick the “BIG THREE”?  What is the MOST important?  What do you NEED to cover?  What approaches do you want to try?  Structure them into course plan and allow “enough” time  A set outline for each session?  DOUBLE how long you think it will take!  Figure out how you want the students to REALLY use the resources  You  The book  The class session

8 Types of courses I use The Modified LectureThe “Sorta - Flipped” Class  Lectures, but broken up into sections  min  Activity between  May be very short!  Think Pair Share  Minute papers  Many others  Readings “required” but…  Homeworks (sometimes) and regular in-class writes  MANY sources of points for grading (not just exams and a paper)  Required homework/readings every day (quiz)  Very short “lecture” if at all  1-2 activities each day  Jig saws  Group projects  Conceptual model building  Students take notes on what other students do and are held resp for material in student products on tests  MANY sources of points for grading And everything in between THIS IS A CONTINUUM!!

9 In class group research  LOTS of variants  Make a model, put an overview powerpoint together, write a press release, develop a grant program, compare groups of somethings, …  Key is  Can be completed during the session  Too big to be done by one student – need to work with others  Produce a “product”  Clear goal that tells students what they are supposed to be learning  Do a wrap up of some type at the end

10 Marine Plant Distributions  Each group needs to generate a brief PowerPoint overview of the status of a major group/species that includes  A map of current global distribution  An overview of the basic environmental conditions needed for healthy populations  A discussion of the “ecosystem services” provided  A discussion of the major threats to the plant and where these threats are greatest  A discussion of any undesirable aspects (e.g. invasiveness)  Build this like a presentation and put the notes a presenter would need in the notes box  Submit your GROUP Powerpoint to Educat. Also post a copy to the posting forum  REVIEW the other groups presentations! 1. Cordgrass (Spartina alternaflora) 2. Giant kelp 3. Mangroves 4. Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) 5. Codium fragile (dead man’s fingers) 6. Dulse (Palmaria palmata) 10 Concepts… What types of variables determine marine plant distributions?

11 Jigsaws  Students are assigned one of 4-5 readings as homework  Random, by table, etc.  Come in and get together with other students with the same assignment  I recommend a culture where they KNOW they will have a quiz on their reading before your activity  Step 1: Figure it out…become “experts”  Step 2: Re-assort into groups with ONE representative of each paper  Explain papers to other students  Work on larger “conceptual” question/project  May be many or one in the classroom  Produce a product  Submit for grading (or participation)  Present to class

12 12 Develop a Coral Research Grant Program  As a group, you are tasked with developing a new program to fund coral reef loss research projects  You can give away $1 million per year  Decide:  What the focus of the program should be (are you interested in funding projects in a particular area or being really general?)  What will the maximum amount of $ you give to a single project be (will you fund many smaller projects or a few large ones)  Hint: a case study on a single reef that uses a grad student to do the work would cost ~$30-50K; large projects could cost ~$300K-1mill.  Do you want to fund basic research, applied research, or both?  Write this program down as a group (electronically submit – PUT NAMES ON IT) AND be ready to present it orally to the class

13 Some other suggestions  Nametags!  Corny, but really useful  Larger blocks of time work well for bigger activities (longer class meetings)  Tell your students why they are doing an activity  “So why do I have you write these minute papers?”  Make sure to “wrap up”  Need closure and focus from YOU  Match your exams to your activity goals  Solicit feedback DURING the semester  Make your grading flexible  Be prepared to see more


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