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Leeward Community College
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Experiments in Kindness

Tue, 2017-08-15 11:40

Audrey Lin is a volunteer extraordinaire with ServiceSpace. With a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies, Lin has volunteered at the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, India; at Karma Kitchen in Berkeley, California; and has served as an educator on both the east and west coasts of the United States. While not everyone has the ability to travel abroad to volunteer, Lin’s life and perspectives remind us that anyone can participate in acts of kindness. In today’s busy world we are all ‘connected’ on social media, but often fail to connect in real life. Taking time out to really see and acknowledge people can have profound effects on both the person doing the kind act, and the person receiving it. In this talk she shares stories about the powerful ripple effects of kindness within and without.

New Venture Will Offer Free Courses That Students Can Take for College Credit

Tue, 2017-08-08 23:00
The leaders of Freshman Year for Free call it an “on ramp” to college. It’s backed by a philanthropy in New York City called the Modern States Education Alliance.

4 Questions for 2 Experts on the Future of Higher Education

Thu, 2017-08-03 12:20
Ithaka is a nonprofit organization focused on technology and academic transformation. We asked Kevin M. Guthrie, its president, and Catharine Bond Hill, managing director of its Ithaka S+R consulting arm, which trends show the most promise and which are most overhyped.

Four Student Misconceptions about Learning

Wed, 2017-07-26 08:36
Four Student Misconceptions about Learning


Learning is fast
– Students think that learning can happen a lot faster than it does. Take, for example, the way many students handle assigned readings. They think they can get what they need out of a chapter with one quick read through (electronic devices at the ready, snacks in hand, and ears flooded with music). Or, they don’t think it’s a problem to wait until the night before the exam and do all the assigned readings at once. “Students must learn that there are no shortcuts to reading comprehension.” (p. 216) Teachers need to design activities that regularly require students to interact with course text materials.“Efficient and effective learning starts with a proper mindset,” Stephen Chew writes in his short, readable, and very useful chapter, “Helping Students to Get the Most Out of Studying.” Chew continues, pointing out what most of us know firsthand, students harbor some fairly serious misconceptions that undermine their efforts to learn. He identifies four of them.
  1. Knowledge is composed of isolated facts – Students who hold this misconception demonstrate it when they memorize definitions. Chew writes about the commonly used student practice of making flash cards with only one term or concept on each card. The approach may enable students to regurgitate the correct definition, but they “never develop a connected understanding or how to reason with and apply concepts.” (p.216) The best way for teachers to correct this misconception is by using test questions that ask students to relate definitions, use definitions to construct arguments, or apply them to some situation.
  2. Being good at a subject is a matter of inborn talent rather than hard work – All of us have had students who tell us with great assurance that they can’t write, can’t do math, are horrible at science, or have no artistic ability. Chew points out that if students hold these beliefs about their abilities, they don’t try as hard in those areas and give up as soon as any difficulty is encountered. Then they have even more evidence about those absent abilities. Students need to bring to learning a “growth mindset,” recognized by statements like this, “Yes, I’m pretty good at math, but that’s because I’ve spend a lot of time doing it.” Teacher feedback can play an important role in helping students develop these growth mindsets.
  3. I’m really good at multi-tasking, especially during class or studying – We’ve been all over this one in the blog. “The evidence is clear: trying to perform multiple tasks at once is virtually never as effective as performing the tasks one at a time focusing completely on each one.” (p. 217) Chew also writes here about “inattentional blindness” which refers to the fact that when our attention is focused on one thing, we aren’t seeing other things. “The problem of not knowing what we missed is that we believe we haven’t missed anything.” (p.217)

Pointing out these misconceptions helps but probably not as much as demonstrations. Students, especially those in the 18-24 age range, don’t always believe what their teachers tell them. The evidence offered by a demonstration is more difficult to ignore.

Please be encouraged to read Chew’s whole chapter (it’s only eight pages). It’s in an impressive new anthology which is reviewed in the February issue of The Teaching Professor newsletter. Briefly here, the book contains 24 chapters highlighting important research on the science of learning. The chapters are highly readable! They describe the research in accessible language and explore the implications of those findings. Very rarely do researchers (and most of these chapters are written by those involved with research) offer implementable suggestions. This book is full of them.

And here’s the most impressive part about this book: you can download it for free. It’s being made available by the American Psychological Association’s Society for the Teaching of Psychology. Yes, it’s a discipline-based piece of scholarly work, but as the editors correctly claim it’s a book written for anyone who teaches and cares about learning. Kudos to them for providing such a great resource!

Reference and link: Benassi, V. A., Overson, C. E., & Hakala, C. M. (Editors). (2014). Applying science of learning in education: Infusing psychological science into the curriculum. Available at the Teaching of Psychology website: http://teachpsych.org/ebooks/asle2014/index.php

Four Student Misconceptions about Learning was originally published on Jan. 29, 2014 and went on to become one of the popular articles on Faculty Focus that year.

Four Student Misconceptions about Learning

Why Revise? Because You Have an Authentic Audience

Wed, 2017-07-26 08:24
Photo credit: Official White House photo by Pete Souza

Whenever I start talking about the importance of revising our writing with my classes, I show them this photograph: an over-the-shoulder shot of Barack Obama holding a copy of his Inaugural Address from 2013. It’s a printed page covered with his handwritten edits. Words are crossed out, arrows go every which way, and there are notes everywhere.

My point in showing this to students has always been: “Look how important revision is — even the President of the United States takes the time to work on writing revision!” However, I used to overlook one key question when discussing the photograph with students: “Why did Mr. Obama care enough to revise his speech so much?”

Undoubtedly, the answer is that millions of people around the world would be listening to the speech, and thus he wanted his writing to be clear, precise, and flawless.

It should come as no surprise, then, that students care more about writing, revising, editing, proofreading, and perfecting their compositions when given a real-world audience. It’s not just something that they’ve written for practice or a grade. It’s a real piece of writing that will be read by real people in the real world.

5 Inspiring Strategies

Here are five successful writing strategies that I’ve used in my classroom to give students authentic audiences and motivate them to revise with gusto:

1. Self-Publishing Fiction

The world of self-publishing is more than just fan fiction and esoteric sci-fi. There are whole communities out there of budding writers sharing stories, giving each other feedback, and practicing the art of writing. Whatever kind of creative writing you do with your students, they can self-publish and connect with readers all over the world. Two of my favorite sites for students to self-publish are Wattpad and figment.

2. Recording Podcasts

This one comes with the added bonus that it forces students to read their writing aloud, which alerts them to all kinds of writing issues that would otherwise go unnoticed when reading silently. They can create podcasts about anything, but I’ve had students base them on National Public Radio’s This I Believe series. Giving students the opportunity to literally voice their opinions is powerful stuff. Getting to share those opinions is even more powerful. PodBean is a great place for students to upload and share their podcasts with the world.

3. Blogging

As a blogger myself, I clearly value the power of writing short pieces concerning things that I’m passionate about. And guess what? So do students! They can create blogs about anything that interests them — video games, sports, fashion, anything they choose. Not only will this passion-based writing energize them, but their words will also reach an audience that cares about the same things. I teach at a Google Apps for Education school, so having students create a public blog through Blogger is super easy, but edublogs, which is WordPress’ site targeted toward teachers and students, is also free.

4. Writing Correspondence

Learning to write letters, email, and other correspondence is an important skill in and of itself, but actually sending the correspondence to real people takes the lesson to a whole new level. I’ve had students write to prisoners of conscience around the world, with much success, as part of Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign. However, students can also write to any public persona, such as a letter to their state governor about an issue facing their community, or an email to the author of a book they’re reading. You could also go the old tried-and-true route of getting your students pen pals. Whatever you choose, the real power of this practice comes when students receive return correspondence. You can almost see their faces light up when they realize that their writing is deserving of a real-world response.

5. Making Videos for YouTube

The beauty of YouTube is that anyone can upload anything they want and instantly have an audience of millions. I’ve had students produce short, creative films based on books they were reading, but they can also create scripted how-to videos, screencasts, or interviews. This one is also great for giving students a chance to become amateur video editors and filmmakers — not a bad bonus!

The Bigger Audience

Let’s face it. Most of us middle- or high-school teachers are only one of about eight that our students will have during the course of a year. We might build great relationships with them and they might respect our opinion, but for most of them, they have a limit to how much they care about our assessment of their work. And can we blame them for this? Of course not. After countless assignments throughout the school year, the motivation for students to really care about impressing teachers with their writing must be pretty difficult to muster by the time, say, April rolls around.

For conventional writing assignments, students are usually trying to meet the expectations of one person — the teacher who assigned it. However, with an authentic audience, students are driven by the knowledge that their writing will leave the school, go out into the world, and be judged not for their ability to respond to an assignment, but for their ability to reach other people through their writing.

Dylan Fenton

English Teacher Why Revise? Because You Have an Authentic Audience

How a BYU Campus Is Reshaping Online Education — and the Mormon Faith

Thu, 2017-07-13 13:39
PathwayConnect, a yearlong program created by Brigham Young University-Idaho, has graduated nearly 24,000 students by cutting marketing costs, stacking credentials, and mixing online classes with real-world meetups. What can other colleges learn from the endeavor?

Career Planning in College ‘Should Not Feel Like Going to the DMV’

Wed, 2017-07-12 02:59
Roadtrip Nation is known for its bright-green RVs that take students on career journeys. Mike Marriner, a founder of the group, describes how it continues to expand its mission to help people prepare for their lives after graduation.

re:Learning on Video

Tue, 2017-07-11 18:00
The Chronicle’s re:Learning video series explores the new education landscape with innovators from within and outside academe.

A Wave of Disability-Lawsuit Threats Against Colleges May Have Receded

Thu, 2017-07-06 13:00
A Pittsburgh law firm appears to have walked away after telling dozens of colleges it might sue them over their online courses’ inaccessibility.

One Activist Has Hundreds of Colleges Under the Gun to Fix Their Websites

Thu, 2017-07-06 13:00
A Michigan woman says it takes her only half an hour to alert the Education Department that a college appears to be violating disability-rights laws.

Should the Future of Education Include a ‘Personalized Prescription’ of Video Games?

Wed, 2017-07-05 11:36
From the ASU + GSV Summit 2017: Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist at the University of California at San Francisco who studies the effects of games and other physical and cognitive challenges, says they can improve memory and multitasking, and even treat attention-deficit disorders.

With the ‘Coming Battles’ Between People and Machines, Educators Are All the More Vital

Wed, 2017-06-28 12:15
From the ASU + GSV Summit 2017: Andrew Ng, a computer scientist and co-founder of Coursera, says innovations in artificial intelligence will both create great wealth and raise ethical challenges if we want not just a wealthier society “but also a fairer society.”

iTeach Free Professional Development

Wed, 2017-05-24 17:32