April 10, 2012
Strategies for using group work in college classes
Are you interested in using group work but uncertain about how to manage this in a class? The Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia created a short video on the use of group work. The video discusses several types of research-based best practices for group activities, how to manage group work to keep the focus on learning, interviews with instructors and students about their experiences with group work, and demonstrations of different types of group activity in classroom settings.
The 15-minute video can be viewed in two parts on YouTube. The link below also provides access to this video in Flash and QuickTime formats.
An interesting strategy illustrated in the second video is the use of tablet-sized white boards that students use during group work on computational problems. The tablets are 12” x 9” dry-erase boards that are large enough to allow students in a group to share their final diagram, written response, or problem solution with the rest of the class in a pair-share activity. Students can easily erase and revise their solutions to problems while they work together as a group, so they are less hesitant to begin work on problems.
September 20, 2011
Not just fun and games! Structure class demonstrations to reinforce learning goals
Classroom demonstrations that illustrate an important process, phenomenon, or application of a concept can generate interest and engage students with course material. Though students enjoy classroom demonstrations, they sometimes remember the activity but do not remember the course learning goals that instructors want to promote when they design the demonstration. An effective demonstration connects student memories of the classroom experience with the concepts the activity was designed to demonstrate.
Strategies that transform an entertaining demonstration into an effective learning experience
Bransford, J. D., & Johnson, M. K. (1972). Contextual prerequisites for understanding: Some investigations of comprehension and recall.Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 11, 717-726.
Holst, V. F., & Pezdek, K. (1992). Scripts for typical crimes and their effects on memory for eyewitness testimony.Applied Cognitive Psychology, 6, 573-587.
Pyper, B. A. (2008).Best practices in physics demonstrations or “Oh, I thought this was just for entertainment.” Power Point slides for a presentation at the AAPT UT/ID section meeting, Boise, ID.
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