Post a yellow button on the classroom door: Students know their cell phones should be on silent (vibrate) and placed face down in the upper right-hand corner of their desk. They will be using them in class, but not the whole time.
Post a green button on the classroom door: Students know they should have their phones turned on (either silenced or set on vibrate) and placed face up in ready position to use throughout the class.
Establishing a Class Contract
Ask your students to help you develop social norms for what is and is not appropriate cell phone use during green and yellow button times. Should they be allowed to go on their social media networks during class? Why or why not?
findings, published in the journal Economics of Education Review in a paper, based on an analysis of the grades of about 5,600 students at a private US liberal arts college, found that using a laptop appeared to harm the grades of male and low-performing students most significantly.
While the authors were unable to definitively say why laptop use caused a “significant negative effect in grades”, the authors believe that classroom “cyber-slacking” plays a major role in lower achievement, with wi-fi-enabled computers providing numerous distractions for students.
con?:with the advent of personal assistants like Siri and Google Now that aim to serve up information before you even know you need it, you don’t even need to type the questions.
pro: Whenever new technology emerges — including newspapers and television — discussions about how it will threaten our brainpower always crops up, Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker wrote in a 2010 op-ed in The New York Times. Instead of making us stupid, he wrote, the Internet and technology “are the only things that will keep us smart.”
Pro and con: Daphne Bavelier, a professor at the University of Geneva, wrote in 2011 that we may have lost the ability for oral memorization valued by the Greeks when writing was invented, but we gained additional skills of reading and text analysis.
con: Daphne Bavelier, a professor at the University of Geneva, wrote in 2011 that we may have lost the ability for oral memorization valued by the Greeks when writing was invented, but we gained additional skills of reading and text analysis.
con: A 2008 study commissioned by the British Library found that young people go through information online very quickly without evaluating it for accuracy.
pro or con?: A 2011 study in the journal Science showed that when people know they have future access to information, they tend to have a better memory of how and where to find the information — instead of recalling the information itself.
pro: The bright side lies in a 2009 study conducted by Gary Small, the director of University of California Los Angeles’ Longevity Center, that explored brain activity when older adults used search engines. He found that among older people who have experience using the Internet, their brains are two times more active than those who don’t when conducting Internet searches.
the Internet holds great potential for education — but curriculum must change accordingly. Since content is so readily available, teachers should not merely dole out information and instead focus on cultivating critical thinking
make questions “Google-proof.”
“Design it so that Google is crucial to creating a response rather than finding one,” he writes in his company’s blog. “If students can Google answers — stumble on (what) you want them to remember in a few clicks — there’s a problem with the instructional design.”
Join us next Tuesday, November 10th from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM, for a special SIG Series webinar: Tales from the National Forum on Active Learning Classrooms
The WSU Learning Spaces Team attended the National Forum on Active Learning Classrooms at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities this summer and learned a lot. With topics ranging from picking whiteboards to better integrating classroom design into your campus strategic planning efforts, the conference was a treasure trove of good practices, pictures of cool new classrooms, links to useful information, and pro tips. Join us as we share what we learned at this amazing gathering. If you didn’t get a chance to go, this session will be a great opportunity to zoom in on the highlights. If you went, we would love to compare notes!
Ken Graetz, Tom Hill, Stephanie Stango, Dave Burman, and Eric Wright are all part of the Winona State University Learning Spaces Team and members of the Teaching, Learning, and Technology Services unit of Information Technology Services. They attended the National Forum as a team this summer and were able to cover almost all of the sessions. Each brings a unique perspective to the discussion, from under-the-hood classroom systems design and configuration to instructional design and pedagogical strategies.
McGill Principles for Designing of Teaching and Learning Spaces has rubric
most useful technology in an ALC appears to be the whiteboard.
Whiteboards are also very glitchy. Projecting my tablet or laptop is just as effective–with less glitches
evidence that students are reluctant to engage in active learning.
the U has done work, but the “Canadians have the process”
the support faculty gets from technicians: two week in the beginning of the semester in a new classroom.
what is the most important goal of your college education and therefore of this course: a. inquiring information b. learning how to sue information and knowledge in anew situation c. developing skills to continue learning after college
GPA cutoff above 3.0
problem solving skills
written communication skills
GigaPan.com instructor will have students use in classes to identify problems engaging in a virtual field trip. student engagement
wikispaces as GOogle docs, MS Word 16, work collaboratively
not group, but team. team work very important
take what we learned in ALCs to traditional large lecture halls
blending the formal with the informal (including outdoors)
creating a learner profile, a set of criteria the school district wanted students to learn while in school. That profile includes: seek knowledge and understanding; think critically and solve problems; listen, communicate, and interact effectively; exhibit strong personal qualities; and engage and compete in a global environment. The profile helps guide all approaches to learning in the district.
Kids already know how to use their devices, but they don’t know how to learn with their devices,” Clark said in an edWeb webinar. It’s the teacher’s role to help them discover how to connect to content, one another and learning with a device that they may have only used for texting and Facebook previously. “It’s about the kids being empowered in the classroom to make decisions about the ways that they are learning,”
IN-CLASS BACK-CHANNELING: Backchanneling refers to the use of networks & social media to maintain an online, real-time conversation alongside spoken remarks.
IN-CLASS READINGS AND HANDOUTS. Smartphones can also be used productively in the classroom as eReaders for books and handouts. You can place all student handouts into DropBox folders (see “Dropbox A Multi-Tool for Educators”).
Using Google Docs for backchanneling with students:
We are pleased to inform you that your classroom response system is chosen as final candidate for campus-wide adoption/support at St. Cloud State University. Should you be interested in pursuing this opportunity, we invite you to respond to the attached list of questions and to prepare a brief presentation for members of the selection committee and interested faculty/staff.
The deadline for responding to the questions is 12:00 pm (CST), Tuesday, April 9. This deadline will allow us to review the responses in time for the vendor presentations on Thursday, April 11, 11AM-1PM. The presentations will be held virtually via Adobe Connect: http://media4.stcloudstate.edu/scsu. Please let us know, if you need to test and familiarize yourself with the presentation platform.
The presentation should be no more than 10 minutes long, followed by 10 minutes for follow-up questions. We suggest that you focus on the highlights of your system, presuming a moderately knowledgeable audience. We may follow up via email or telephone call prior to making our final selection.
Thank you and looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Classroom Response System Taskforce:
Dr. Anthony Hansen
Dr. Michael Rentz
Dr. Joseph Melcher
Dr. Andrew Anda
Dr. Tracy Ore
Dr. Jack McKenna
Dr. Plamen Miltenoff
Questions to vendor
1. Is your system proprietary as far as the handheld device and the operating system software?
2. Describe the scalability of your system, from small classes (20-30) to large auditorium classes. (500+).
3. Is your system receiver/transmitter based, wi-fi based, or other?
4. What is the usual process for students to register a “CRS”(or other device) for a course? List all of the possible ways a student could register their device. Could a campus offer this service rather than through your system? If so, how?
5. Once a “CRS” is purchased can it be used for as long as the student is enrolled in classes? Could “CRS” purchases be made available through the campus bookstore? Once a student purchases a “clicker” are they able to transfer ownership when finished with it?
6. Will your operating software integrate with other standard database formats? If so, list which ones.
7. Describe the support levels you provide. If you offer maintenance agreements, describe what is covered.
8. What is your company’s history in providing this type of technology? Provide a list of higher education clients.
10. What personal data does your company collect on students and for what purpose? Is it shared or sold to others? How is it protected?
11. Do any of your business partners collect personal information about students that use your technology?
12. With what formats can test/quiz questions be imported/exported?
13. List compatible operating systems (e.g., Windows, Macintosh, Palm, Android)?
14. What are the total costs to students including device costs and periodic or one-time operation costs
15. Describe your costs to the institution.
16. Describe how your software integrates with PowerPoint or other presentation systems.
17. State your level of integration with Desire2Learn (D2L)?
Does the integration require a server or other additional equipment the campus must purchase?
18. How does your company address disability accommodation for your product?
19. Does your software limit the number of answers per question in tests or quizzes? If so, what is the max question limit?
20. Does your software provide for integrating multimedia files? If so, list the file format types supported.
21. What has been your historic schedule for software releases and what pricing mechanism do you make available to your clients for upgrading?
22. Describe your “CRS”(s).
23. If applicable, what is the average life span of a battery in your device and what battery type does it take?
24. Does your system automatically save upon shutdown?
25. What is your company’s projection/vision for this technology in the near and far term.
26. Does any of your software/apps require administrator permission to install?
27. If your system is radio frequency based, what frequency spectrum does it operate in? If the system operate in the 2.4-2.5 ghz. spectrum, have you tested to insure that smart phones, wireless tablet’s and laptops and 2.4 ghz. wireless phones do not affect your system? If so, what are the results of those tests?
28. What impact to the wireless network does the solution have?
29. Can the audience response system be used spontaneously for polling?
30. Can quiz questions and response distributions be imported and exported from and to plaintext or a portable format? (motivated by assessment & accreditation requirements).
31. Is there a requirement that a portion of the course grade be based on the audience response system?
An, Donggun, and Martha Carr. “Learning styles theory fails to explain learning and achievement: Recommendations for alternative approaches.” Personality and Individual Differences 116 (2017): 410-416.
To assist time-strapped instructional faculty and staff, we offer a consolidated summary of key cognitive science principles, in the form of an easy-to-remember acronym: ANSWER.
Attention: Learning requires memory, and memory requires focused attention. Multitasking is a myth, and even the more scientifically-accurate term “task-switching” yields errors compared to focused attention. The brain is quite adept at filtering out dozens of simultaneous stimuli, as it does every second of wakefulness. Attention is a required ingredient for learning. This has ramifications for syllabus policies on the use of electronic devices for note-taking, which have been shown to be irresistible and therefore lead to distraction and lower scores (Ravizza, Uitvlugt, and Fenn). Even when students are not distracted, laptops are used primarily for dictation, which does little for long-term memory; writing by hand does more to stimulate attention and build neural networks than typing (Mueller and Oppenheimer).
Novelty: variety into lesson plans, activities, and opportunities for practice, instructors amplify potential learning for their students. Further, the use of metaphors in teaching enhances transfer, hemispheric integration, and retention, so using picture prompts and images can further solidify student learning (Sousa).
Spacing: Sometimes called “distributed practice,”the spacing effect refers to the jump in performance when students study a subject and then practice with gaps of time, ideally over one or more nights (sleep helps with memory consolidation), as compared to studying all at once, as if cramming the night before a test. Cramming, or massed practice, is successful for temporary test performance, since information is loaded into working memory. But the practices that work well for short-term memory do not work well for long-term memory. The spacing effect is particularly effective when combined with interleaving, the intentional practice of mixing in older learning tasks/skills with the new ones (Roedeiger, et al.). An ideal example of this would be regular quizzes in the semester that are cumulative (think “tiny final exams”).
Why: Memory is associative; when new memories are formed, neurons wire together (and later fire together), so the context can lead to the information, and vice versa. A teaching strategy of comprised of questions to guide lesson plans (perhaps even beginning with mystery) can pique student interest and learning potential. If you use PowerPoint, Haiku Deck, or Prezi, do your slides consist primarily of answers or questions?
Emotions: Short-term memories are stored in the hippocampus, a portion of the brain associated with emotions; the same area where we consolidate short-term into long-term memories overnight.
As instructors, we create the conditions in which students will motivate themselves (Ryan & Deci, 2000) by infusing our interactions with the positive emptions of curiosity, discovery, and fun. Simple gamification (quizzes with immediate feedback, for instance) can help.
Repetition: The creation of a new memory really means the formation of synapses across neurons and new neural pathways. These pathways and bridges degrade over time unless the synapse fires again. Consider the days before smartphones, when the way to remember a phone number was to repeat it several times mentally. Repetition, in all its forms, enables more effective recall later. This is why quizzing, practice testing, flashcards, and instructor-driven questioning and challenges are so effective.
In April, a PLAYlive Nation lounge in Tracy, Calif., hosted its first Fortnite tournament and sold out. Hundreds of players bought tickets to play against one another and win prizes.
Joost van Dreunen, the CEO of Superdata Research, a video game analytics firm, says most shooter games are serious and simulate violence. Fortnite, he says, is more like a friendly game of tag.
His company estimates the game has made about $223 million across all platforms in March alone. In lifetime sales, it had made about $614 million. The game is free to play, but Epic Games, the company that owns Fortnite, makes money through microtransactions. Players can spend real money to make cosmetic changes to their characters in the game. They can buy things like skins, which are like costumes, for their characters or emotes, which are celebratory dance moves their characters can do after winning or killing another player in the game.
Ninja, the gamer name taken by 26-year-old Tyler Blevins, is now a legend in the Fortnite world. He is a master at the game and rocketed into popularity after playing in an online battle with rap artists Drake and Travis Scott on March 14. That battle has been watched more than 9 million times.
Educators Battle ‘Fortnite’ for Students’ Attention
Many educators want to ban the game from their classrooms, but some are taking the opposite approach, attempting to weave students’ interest in Fortnite into class discussions and assignments.
Nick Fisher, a science teacher at Fort Zumwalt North High School in O’Fallon, Mo., said his students like to take screenshots of gameplay and send them to friends over Snapchat. Teenagers want to broadcast their victories, and because the game is on their phones, it’s easy to post updates to social media, making Fortnite “the perfect concoction of addiction,” said Fisher.
North High blocks all social media and gaming sites on its WiFi, said Fisher, but students tell him how they circumvent the restriction: They use virtual private networks, or VPNs, to establish independent internet connections. (Dozens of YouTube videos provide step-by-step tutorials for students looking to get around school WiFi controls.)
“Kids can’t multitask,” she said. “Even having a digital device within sight can cognitively distract the student enough that they can’t focus on the academics.”
Schools and teachers should be guiding parents when it comes to appropriate limits around screen time, said Kolb. Most parents will appreciate research-based recommendations, such as turning off all screens a set amount of time before bed, she said.
Games like Fortnite can even have social benefits, said John Velez, an assistant professor of journalism and electronic media at Texas Tech University. Velez, who studies the positive effects of video games, has found that playing violent games cooperatively with helpful teammates promotes pro-social behavior.
Chris Aviles, the coordinator of innovation, technology, and 21st century skills for the Fair Haven Public Schools in New Jersey, wrote “A Teacher’s Guide to Surviving Fortnite,” an exploration of ways the game can be used for instructional purposes. The guide, posted to his blog Teched Up Teacher, suggests how to integrate the game into writing prompts, math lessons on probability, and physics.
Aviles doesn’t advocate playing the game at school. There isn’t any educational value in letting students engage in virtual combat during a lesson, he said. Instead, teachers can build a lesson around one aspect of the game, such as having students calculate the best angle of approach as they jump from the “Battle Bus,” the floating bus that drops players onto the map at the beginning of each match.
Instagram, Snapchat, Fortnite: The distractions are endless. Here’s how to help kids cope.
In January, two of Apple’s shareholder groups asked the company to look at the addictive effects of iPhones on children. Google’s recent developer conference highlighted tools to help users better control smartphone usage.
A 2015 survey of more than 1,800 teachers and 400 principals in Alberta, B.C., found that nearly three-fourths of teachers frequently or very frequently observed students multitasking with technology, and 67 percent of teachers believed that the number of students negatively distracted by digital technologies in the classroom was growing.
The best approach is to use empathy, compassion and collaboration to help the young people in your life find ways to manage their digital workflow.
Encourage visualization for inspiration and motivation. The first step is getting students to buy in and to want to make behavioral changes.
Focus on compartmentalization. A 2009 study from Stanford researchers found that people who juggled several streams of electronic information were not able to pay attention, remember key information or switch tasks as effectively as those who completed one task at a time.
Using the Pomodoro technique of spending 25 minutes focused on one task followed by a five-minute break can be an easy way to have students begin to shift from a multitasking to a monotasking mind-set.
Make focus fun. There are now numerous ways to use technology to help us be more productive with technology, and it doesn’t have to be arduous. Students in my office use apps such as Forest or Flipd to motivate them to stay off their phones during class or when doing homework. Forest has a simple interface that will build a digital tree for users who stay off their phones. Flipd allows users to hide certain apps, allot time off their phone based on their schedule and, for a premium, track their progress over time.
Provide structured support as needed. A middle school student with whom I worked recently was relieved when his mother used the Mac OS app SelfControl to block YouTube and ESPN while he was doing his homework (Cold Turkey is a similar PC-based app).
Allow opportunities for regrouping. Even the best plans can go awry (for adults and kids alike). It’s important to focus on progress rather than perfection. Create time daily or weekly for students to think about what went well in terms of managing distractions and improving productivity, and what they would like to do better. Ask open-ended questions without judgment or expectation
despite China’s many technological advances, in this new cyberspace race, the West had the lead.
Xi knew he had to act. Within twelve months he revealed his plan to make China a science and technology superpower. By 2030 the country would lead the world in AI, with a sector worth $150 billion. How? By teaching a generation of young Chinese to be the best computer scientists in the world.
Today, the US tech sector has its pick of the finest minds from across the world, importing top talent from other countries – including from China. Over half of Bay Area workers are highly-skilled immigrants. But with the growth of economies worldwide and a Presidential administration hell-bent on restricting visas, it’s unclear that approach can last.
In the UK the situation is even worse. Here, the government predicts there’ll be a shortfall of three million employees for high-skilled jobs by 2022 – even before you factor in the immigration crunch of Brexit. By contrast, China is plotting a homegrown strategy of local and national talent development programs. It may prove a masterstroke.
In 2013 the city’s teenagers gained global renown when they topped the charts in the PISA tests administered every three years by the OECD to see which country’s kids are the smartest in the world. Aged 15, Shanghai students were on average three full years ahead of their counterparts in the UK or US in maths and one-and-a-half years ahead in science.
Teachers, too, were expected to be learners. Unlike in the UK, where, when I began to teach a decade ago, you might be working on full-stops with eleven-year-olds then taking eighteen-year-olds through the finer points of poetry, teachers in Shanghai specialised not only in a subject area, but also an age-group.
Shanghai’s success owed a lot to Confucian tradition, but it fitted precisely the best contemporary understanding of how expertise is developed. In his book Why Don’t Kids Like School? cognitive Dan Willingham explains that complex mental skills like creativity and critical thinking depend on our first having mastered the simple stuff. Memorisation and repetition of the basics serve to lay down the neural architecture that creates automaticity of thought, ultimately freeing up space in our working memory to think big.
Seung-bin Lee, a seventeen-year-old high school graduate, told me of studying fourteen hours a day, seven days a week, for the three years leading up to the Suneung, the fearsome SAT exam taken by all Korean school leavers on a single Thursday each November, for which all flights are grounded so as not to break students’ concentration during the 45 minutes of the English listening paper.
Korea’s childhoods were being lost to a relentless regime of studying, crushed in a top-down system that saw them as cyphers rather than kids.
A decade ago, we consoled ourselves that although kids in China and Korea worked harder and did better on tests than ours, it didn’t matter. They were compliant, unthinking drones, lacking the creativity, critical thinking or entrepreneurialism needed to succeed in the world. No longer. Though there are still issues with Chinese education – urban centres like Shanghai and Hong Kong are positive outliers – the country knows something that we once did: education is the one investment on which a return is guaranteed. China is on course to becoming the first education superpower.
Troublingly, where education in the UK and US has been defined by creativity and independent thinking – Shanghai teachers told me of visits to our schools to learn about these qualities – our direction of travel is now away from those strengths and towards exams and standardisation, with school-readiness tests in the pipeline and UK schools minister Nick Gibb suggesting kids can beat exam stress by sitting more of them. Centres of excellence remain, but increasingly, it feels, we’re putting our children at risk of losing out to the robots, while China is building on its strong foundations to ask how its young people can be high-tech pioneers. They’re thinking big – we’re thinking of test scores.
soon “digital information processing” would be included as a core subject on China’s national graduation exam – the Gaokao – and pictured classrooms in which students would learn in cross-disciplinary fashion, designing mobile phones for example, in order to develop design, engineering and computing skills. Focusing on teaching kids to code was short-sighted, he explained. “We still regard it as a language between human and computer.” (My note: they are practically implementing the Finland’s attempt to rebuild curricula)
“If your plan is for one year,” went an old Chinese saying, “plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for 100 years, educate children.” Two and half thousand years later chancellor Gwan Zhong might update his proverb, swapping rice for bitcoin and trees for artificial intelligence, but I’m sure he’d stand by his final point.