As another successful semester begins to wind down and summer approaches, I look forward to the improvement opportunities that will be available regarding my teaching and communication skills. When was the last time any of us really considered our learning objectives prior to building a syllabus for a class? I mean, deeply considered. I think for most of us, especially after years of teaching, the learning objectives become more of an afterthought. Oftentimes, our deeper analysis of learning objectives comes prior to or during a period of University accreditation. We, as educators, know that our syllabi may be heavily scrutinized by internal and external reviewers in an effort to confirm the following items are in place:
I recently read an article in Forbes magazine titled College is Dead According to the New Book ‘Leveraged Learning’. With a title like that, it garnered my immediate attention. I obviously don’t believe college is dead. My assumption was the article would be about how teaching and learning need to be disrupted. The book Leveraged Learning by Danny Iny is a critique of the ways society views education, how college is not providing its promised returns for the multitudes of struggling students, and the inefficiencies associated with modern college education. In the article, Iny is quoted as saying:
Every semester in almost every class I utilize game-based learning to convey economic and statistical concepts. I look for games that can improve and activate the learning environment. There is no question at this point regarding the positive correlations between comprehension and game-based learning. In fact, the implementation of games has occurred within not just academic settings, but also within the military and business (Deterding, Dixon, et al., 2011). As the research evolves on how to pivot away from traditional, lecture-based teaching, the use of games becomes increasingly important in terms of the impact on problem-solving and improved critical thinking (Kapp, 2012).
As a result of a colleague's suggestion (thanks Shweta!), this semester I used the game of Taboo as a foundation for teaching various economic concepts. Taboo is a game developed in 1989 which has the objective of requiring players to have partners guess a word or phrase on the player’s card without using the word or phrase itself. Read more about the game of Taboo.
How do you get students to reflect deeply, draw meaningful connections, and improve their understanding of assigned readings? How do you create a learning environment in which students actively participate in class discussions? How do you curate those experiences for future reflection?
One solution is using Google Slides to create summaries of your reading assignments. As ed tech tools, Google Slides, Sheets, and Docs were created in 2012. Here’s how I employ them in the classroom to energize assigned readings.
I love the first day of class and a new semester! It represents a time to connect with new students, experiment with new ways to teach material, implement/refine active teaching strategies, and start a new Workspace in Slack. Wait, what?
For those who don’t know Slack, it is my pleasure to introduce you. Slack is a self-contained communication tool that is ideal for managing messages, files, and almost all other forms of digital shareables. If you are familiar with and enjoy GroupMe, then you already understand the basic functionality of Slack. They both allow for streamlined communication among groups; however, Slack is a more business-friendly tool due to its advanced document capabilities, search functionality, professional user interface, and multitude of app integrations.