Library Gazette

September 15: Active Learning in One-Shot Sessions

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 11:00 am

Roz on her Junk Science BI

  • Uses the Wellness blog at Time Magazine
  • Found an article on body image
  • Had students read and summarize
  • She knew the cited study in it was Open Access, so as long as they got to it through Google Scholar, the students could read the full text
  • She then gave them an article from Time and the journal article it cited.
  • Had the students look at how they’d find the article, showed how using the database page gives you more information, talked through reading the article
  • She specifically picked an article with wrong information to get the students’ interest
  • She talked less, but students didn’t talk much either

Database discussion

  • When teaching databases, it can be a good strategy to use Academic Search Premier: many can access at the same time and it has the same look and rules as any Ebsco database
  • If you want to use a database with a limited number of users, can have small groups go in together
  • Another option is to have half the class try one database then the other half try the other. Then they can compare the two and coach each other
  • Could have several groups, each group specializes in one, then rotate around to share with each other
  • When doing group comparisons, it’s good to leave time at the end for reporting
  • For education students, you can have students write down what they like and don’t like about their education. Then they can use Eric to find what research can be done based on this life experience.
  • Giz suggested using a model like he uses when teaching Google: 5-10 minute presentation, time for people to play and experiment, 20 minute presentations at the end

Teaching the One-Shot Class

  • Could have several groups based around resources (catalog, encyclopedia, database, etc), become expert, switch groups and share
  • I talked about my worksheets for LIB100 and how I adapted it for a BI session
  • Discussed how to tie into international studies
  • Could base a whole class around CQ Researcher: pros/cons, who are the people, what are the organization, how to use the bibliography
  • Using pop culture references like fantasy football or zombies
  • Get assignment from professor, leave 20 minutes at the end so they can work on it while the librarian is there
  • Scheduling is critical. A BI at the beginning of the semester looks very different from one just before the paper is due.

Day 10: Question?

Sunday, April 5, 2009 2:15 pm

This is just a space in case you have questions or comments on active learning! Do you do anything interesting with your classes that you would like to share? (We’d like to hear it!)

Day 10: The Meta

Sunday, April 5, 2009 2:15 pm

So I didn’t do too much in class on Friday. This was because I felt that if we were taking a day to do active learning, it should be as active as possible, with as little from me as possible. I tried to slip entirely into a facilitator role.

Some noted that physical things are easy to make active, because people can do them. That’s true. But you can take different approaches to how to make them active, and you can still get ideas from how people teach things that are physical. For example, the knit-and-pass exercise could work just as well for translating in a group, teaching synonyms for search, or any brainstorming activity. The yoga-poses teaching demonstrated how to teach something kinesthetically that could have been taught with flashcards. You could have people pose as a painting is drawn, or act out scenes of literature to learn them.

My plan, for this class, was also to show how once you’re thinking from an active learning perspective you incorporate several types of techniques easily, iwthout necessarily thinking “theory X would recommend teaching method Y.”

Day 10: Active Learning

Sunday, April 5, 2009 2:09 pm

Our tenth day focused on active learning, something several people had requested to know more about. Active learning is an umbrella term that includes many different schools of thought within education, and I’ve tried to incorporate some level of it into each class we’ve had.

Since you’ve been in a class that’s been lead by Roz and me, you’ve learned our active learning styles. My goal for this class session was to see other approaches. To do this, I turned it around for different groups to come up with active learning exercises and to do them for the class. This was so that you could see how quickly you can come up with an exercise, and that you oculd see different interpretations of incorporating active learning into the classroom.

Four groups came up with something to teach, and an active way to teach it. We had:

  1. Knitting: demoed knitting with video, and in person; taught one person who then had to knit a stitch on their own; that person passed it to the next and taught the next person; continued down the chain. This was an excellent example of how to incorporate motivation (you know it’s coming to you at some point) and the student-as-teacher model.
  2. Yoga: group demonstrated three poses and named them; had the class do the three poses as named them; group did poses and asked class to recall the name. This exercise was a great way to engage kinesthetic learners. Though you might agree easily that doing yoga poses is an obvious way to teach yoga, the same concept could be applied to any case where a student has to memorize a form/image and a name.
  3. Cooking Salmon: pairs had to find a salmon recipe, then come up with reasons their recipe was best; each group made their case; the class voted on their favorite. This exercise helped participants learn various ways of cooking salmon and weigh the relevant benefits and drawbacks of each. In this case, the teacher didn’t have to teach anything, but facilitate the class discussion to guide them to relevant points.
  4. Differences in classical composers: this group divided the class into three groups and assigned areas to listen for: melody, harmony, and rhythm; we then listened to two clips of music; then filled out a chart as a group of the characteristics of both composers. This was an excellent way of getting students to realize the answers on their own and document the answers you want to make sure they remember. It also brought up several other areas of discussion, where people were really interested in the answers, rather than just listening to a lecture.

I, personally, had a great time seeing what people chose to teach and how they taught it! Thanks for sharing!

Day 8: Learning Theory, the Meta

Friday, March 20, 2009 4:18 pm

Today we talked about several types of learning theories, really quickly. We’ll go into several of them in greater depth in the next few classes.

Because I used a very “meta” approach, I’m rolling the two posts into one here.

We started with a Q&A exercise that Kevin, Craig, and I have used in Lib100. Everyone (who wanted to) wrote questions they have in the course, and after it was over everyone (who wanted to) added tick marks to the ones they also shared. This will help Roz and me make sure to cover what you want by the end of the course.

We started with Active Learning, and used a case study as an example. The case study could be approached with an active learning strategy, but that wasn’t necessary. The point of the exercise was to experience an active learning activity.

Next up we addressed Problem Based Learning. In this case each pair had a problem they chose (how to teach a specific skill) and had a minute to find a way to solve the problem. The pairs shared out with the larger group, reflected and discussed some more, and had the opportunity to share their solutions again.

The third method we explored was Inquiry Based Learning which is perhaps the most student-driven solution. Pairs (again!) explored some aspect of IGI (how it’s related to the other subjects we’ve covered, if it is effective, how to incorporate it into instruction, etc) and shared out to the class.

Service Learning was our fourth topic, were everyone reflected individually on a project that they were very involved in. After reflecting we shared with the group.

The final category was conversation theory, in which the group would make connections as a whole. However, I had a meeting scheduled right up to that moment in class, so I had to leave at this point. If someone wants so share how that went… feel free to comment!

So, the big meta of the day:

  • It was fast! It was designed to be fast to get through a lot of content for those who wanted a taste of a bunch of things. The speed also allowed us to demonstrate that there will be a lot of content about the specific topics we’ve singled out for future classes so that participants would know it’s more than just what is covered on the surface at conferences, in mainstream education literature, etc. Finally, if someone’s really busy and having a hard time making it to the classes, there was enough content to know if it’s something you want to know more about in the future. Of course, we hope you’ll come, though! :)
  • I tried to fit in pair work leading to discussion, pair work that informs discussion that informs pair work, and personal reflection. Each of these approaches has strengths and weaknesses and a combined approach allows you to give more people a chance to do something that resonates with their own learning style.

If you have questions, please leave them here!


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