Fall is officially in full swing! It was great to end the first full week of the quarter with a Discussing Online Learning and Collaborative Education meeting. For those of you who weren’t able to make it, you’ll find my reflections below. I’ll also post the video recording next week.
Technology in K12
Rick Pomeroy, of the School of Education, started us off with a fascinating overview of the way high school teachers use technology in their classrooms. He described how the Common Core Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and International Society for Technology in Education are changing the expectations for K12 schooling—there is a big push for creating more active, learner-centered activities where students are required to use tools, not just memorize content. Technology enters the equation because digital tools are a great way to facilitate active learning.
Pomeroy says that in the 40+ high school science classrooms he visits around Sacramento, the majority of instructors are using some kind of technology. Digital Boards are particularly popular, and many instructors use course management systems like Edmodo, through which students submit work, engage in discussions, and take assessments. Additionally, students are being asked to create digital posters, videos, websites, and blogs, and Pomeroy says modeling and simulation software like PhET and Virtual Frog Dissection are quite popular. Finally, students use the web to both conduct research and analyze the data they find on sites like the Library of Congress or NASA.
The point is that students are frequently being asked to use digital tools and are increasingly engaging in a constructivist model of education. For faculty at UC Davis, this means that the freshman in your classes will increasingly expect learning to be an active, collaborative, and engaging experience. Sitting through a two-hour lecture that provides them with facts to memorize simply isn’t going to cut it.
Learning Outcomes Assessment
After Pomeroy’s talk, Kara Moloney and Allison Cantwell, both assessment coordinators for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), provided a helpful overview of their services. There is not a standard template for assessment because the way you measure student learning depends on the activities you’ve designed and your goals for the course, but Kara and Allison are happy to consult with you and help you plan a strong assessment strategy. They are also hosting a series of workshops on Fridays from 3-4:30pm starting next week; you can find more details on CETL’s assessment website.
Finally, Fernando Socorro provided a quick discussion of clickers, which he has been working with for several years now. As of today, there are 4400 clickers being used by students across campus; some faculty use these tools to take attendance, give quizzes, or collect anonymous data. If you’re interested in using clickers in your class, feel free to get in touch with Fernando—he can provide you with suggestions on how to best incorporate clickers into your curriculum, template text to put in your syllabus, a PowerPoint to introduce clickers to your class, and he is even willing to sit in on your class to make sure everything runs smoothly the first day you use clickers.