A New Year, A New Thought

Welcome to the active learning blog site.  As time goes on – take a look around, as I expand my thoughts on how to assist in active learning.  This is a hot topic in academia, and is the theoretical base for many people teaching in higher education.  I start with one of my favorite quotes:

Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.
― Parker J. PalmerThe Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life


Latest Journal Article on Active Learning

Determinants of Student Satisfaction with Using Instructional Technology: The Role of Active Learning

As I continue with setting up the blog, little tidbits to share with all of you, I just realized that you can take a look at my latest journal publication.  It is based on the Green & Sammons Hospitality Learners Model, in which most of my higher ed research is focused.  Please feel free to download and share the article.

I am currently working on other aspects of the model, however, it seems as if it always comes back to how to use this model in everyday life when planning for a course, the semester, or even the day.  How does technology figure into what I do?  Let me share a good for instance with you, teaching on the fly (or seat of your pant’s at times);

New semester, I have an assignment of hot topics for a class.  Each student needs to be assigned a topic and week so they can then know when they lead the discussion.  Prior to class, I created a Google Form, a few simple questions such as if they wanted to work individually or in a team of 2.  If they wanted me to assign them with another person.  I timed the Form to launch a bit after class started, the student filled out the form, and I immediately had the results.  The results then were pulled in via the sheets option in Google Forms, and in real time I was able to pair up people that wanted to be paired, saw the people whom had a partner, and those that wanted to do this individually were able to voice that to me as well.  This was all pre-planned, as well as a bucket with the week and topic on a slip of paper.  The students then used about 10 minutes to do a quick intro of themselves while I looked at the Google Sheet, paired individuals, and figured out the total number of hot topics needed.  The students then came up, selected a random slip of paper from the bucket that had the week and topic.  Students could then swap weeks or topics amongst themselves.  While they were swapping and negotiating, I created a copy of the class schedule, and changed the “share” of the Google Sheet to edit.  The students then went in a signed their name, to the week and topic.

If you peel all these layers, you see technology, learning by doing, communication, networking, creating the base for a classroom culture of collaboration and trust, setting the stage for weeks to come.  As with most students, I try and honor the introverts, extroverts, and those that just don’t like to talk in class by using clickers, or something like the Google Form.  Just because a student does not talk, it does not mean they have something to say.  Being able to sense this in class, takes being in tune with the class, what is going on, and how the synergy of individual personalities works together.

It was a good day, it was active learning, and it was thrilling.