Quite a lot of teacher-friends of mine have shared this piece on Facebook. After finally reading it, I think it makes a stronger case for banning lectures and possibly classrooms than laptops ... but what do you think?
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- Exactly,- and see also who cites Alfie Kohn's similar criticisms of another piece of research that makes claims to accounting for a situation without having asked the crucial questions:
quote "the authors of this one never questioned, or even bothered to defend, the value of the science lessons they used -- whether they were developmentally appropriate or presented effectively, whether they involved anything more than reading a list of facts or were likely to hold any interest for five year olds. Nor did the researchers vouch for the quality of the assessment. Whatever raises kids' scores (on any test, and of any material) was simply assumed to be a good thing, and anything that lowers scores is bad."
here's the Alfie Kohn piece:
Sadly, I don't see a lot of questioning of pedagogy in these reports, just hand-waving about the evils of laptops.Jun 8, 2014
- In "banning" articles like these there are a couple of things I try to think about. One is, can the same logic be used to argue for banning pencil and paper or other ordinary tools, too? (after all, kids have doodled during lectures for a hundred years) Here's a humorous take on that by"A Proposal for Banning Pencils"
A second thing to think about is how closely do the activities in the class resemble those in the real world. In this case the class is computer science. Do programmers listen to lectures all day as part of their job? No. Do they need to learn how to use computers as part of their job? Definitely yes. So maybe the lecture should be banned, rather than the computers.Jun 8, 2014
- I think the discussions also leave out the subject matter, as if all lecture topics are equal and deserve the same note-taking and/or listening treatment. (Doug made me think of this with his programmer example. I have a colleague who lectures with good old no-frills PPT, and then has his students do some programming based on his lecture. A humanities prof might do something else altogether and have a different expectation.)
And another thing: Some of the best lectures known to humanity are commencement speeches. We know this because commencement speeches by scholars and others are often republished successfully (text as well as video). Yet we don't ask students to take notes during commencement.Jun 8, 2014
- No notes because commencement speeches are entertainment.
They won't be on the exam. No more exams: one of the best things about commencing.
Me, I prefer Star Trek for entertainment. :-)Jun 8, 2014
- Laura Gibbs and I were discussing this kind of thing in Doug Holton's other post - the idea of schools, both K-12 and higher ed, seeming to be afraid of these kinds of "big questions" that want to reconsider exactly what "education" and "learning" mean. What struck me here in these comments was remembering the moment in school that I realized that it was part of my responsibility as a student to figure out for myself how to pull my own learning out of whatever format the class was in - lecture, lab, reading, student discussion groups, etc. I suppose I was what would now be called an "active learner" in that I wasn't simply a vessel into which knowledge was to be decanted, but an active participant in my own education.
Maybe I was a weird kid, but if I wanted to understand something, I went after it myself. I took notes in class, asked questions (though not always IN class), marked the hell out of my textbooks, read like crazy. I started with the assumption that whatever my class was in, it must be worth learning about. Even if it wasn't something I was inherently interested in.
Yeah. Reading back through this, I think I must've been a weird kid! ;)Jun 8, 2014
- Ha ha, long live weirdness!
Motivational weirdness from yesterday in fact:
And BTW I have to thank everybody from this thread and from the cluster of related threads this weekend - it really helped me to make progress on exactly what Rob is talking about here, getting the students to actively participate in their reading experience. My classes in the past have really focused on activating the writing experience... but it is so exciting now to take on the task of re-energizing the reading experience in my classes. What resulted from the discussions this weekend is here:
Happy Weekend!Jun 8, 2014