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Releasing the reins: Technologies that put students in charge
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Releasing the reins: Technologies that put students in charge

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By Chris McMorran ...

By Chris McMorran

A challenge faculty members face is knowing when to stop preparing content and start giving students more responsibility over what they learn. In this presentation, I first outline a range of technologies I have used at NUS to increase student involvement in classes with enrollments that range from five to 450. Then I focus on two technologies I have incorporated to not only allow students to demonstrate their understanding of course content, but also put students in charge of deciding what and how they will learn. Specifically, I highlight Google Maps and the NUS Wiki as learner-centered tools. I show how the technologies work, share student work and student feedback about the tools, and discuss several challenges to their use. This presentation aims to inspire others to release some control over course content in order to help students develop skills, gain knowledge, and demonstrate abilities through readily accessible tools.

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  • 1. Releasing  the  Reins:  technologies  that  put  students  in  charge  Chris  McMorran  Dept  of  Japanese  Studies  10  January,  2013  BuzzEd  2013  @  NUS        (La  Classe  de  Danse,  by  Edgar  Degas  –  from  WikiPainIngs)  
  • 2. Technologies  used  since  2012  Module  (level)   Enrolment   Technologies  IntroducIon  to  Japanese   250   Clickers  (SRS)  Studies  (1000)   450   TurniIn   Google  Maps   IVLE  Discussion  Forum  Japan:  the  Green  NaIon?   15   TurniIn  (3000)   Google  Maps   Google  Docs  Field  Studies  in  Japan  (3000)   13   TurniIn   Google  Maps*   Google  Docs   NUS  Blog  Japanese  PoliIcal  Economy   5   TurniIn  (4000)   NUS  Wiki*   GarageBand  
  • 3. Case  #1:  Japanese  PoliIcal  Economy  •  Exercise  aim:  Students  will  author  and  edit   content  related  to  Japanese  poliIcal  economy,  as   well  as  previews  and  summaries  of  their  self-­‐ directed  weekly  seminars.  •  Technology:  NUS  Wiki  
  • 4. Learning  Outcomes  (from  syllabus)  By  the  end  of  the  semester  you  should  be  able  to:  •  Explain  the  main  contours  of  Japan’s  postwar  poliIcal  economy   (remember  and  recall  details)  •  UIlize  (both  verbally  and  in  wriIng)  concepts  specific  to  Japan’s   poliIcal  economy  (apply  context-­‐specific  knowledge)  •  Contribute  to  the  module  Wiki  project  (synthesize  knowledge,  create   new  scholarship)  •  Plan  a  seminar  meeIng  (organizaIon  skills)  •  Teach  difficult  concepts  to  others  (teaching  and  planning  skills)  •  Organize  a  fruiaul  group  discussion  in  which  everyone  parIcipates   (group  dynamics)  •  Voice  your  ideas  clearly  and  with  supporIng  evidence,  both  verbally   and  in  wriIng  (develop  communicaIon  skills,  including  persuasion)  •  Analyze  a  novel  using  ideas  from  class  (incorporate  academic   knowledge  in  everyday  life)    
  • 5. The  Exercise  •  Using  Wiki  to  help  build  mastery  (except  #3)   1.  Submit  a  preview  of  the  scholarship   2.  Submit  a  lesson  plan   3.  Run  the  class  meeIng  (2  hours)   4.  Write  a  meeIng  summary   5.  Create  3  Wiki  pages  on  key  debates  or  terms  
  • 6. Case  #2:  Field  Studies  in  Japan  •  Module  aim:  to  explore  sustainability  in   contemporary  Japan,  parIcularly  through  the   convergence  of  tourism  and  the  construcIon   state  •  Exercise  aim:  to  map  of  HTB’s  ecological   efforts,  which  are  missing  from  the  “normal”   tourist  map  •  Technology:  Google  Maps  
  • 7. The  Place  –  Huis  ten  Bosch  
  • 8. Step  1:  Official  Tour  of  Env   FaciliIes  
  • 9. Step  2.1:  Mapping  the  “Unofficial”  
  • 10. Step  2.2:  Mapping  the  “Unofficial”  
  • 11. The  Result:  hep://goo.gl/maps/Yy3on    
  • 12. “Leing  Go”  with  Technologies:   Obstacles  and  Quandaries?  
  • 13. “Leing  Go”  with  Technologies:   Obstacles  and  Quandaries?  Japanese  PoliJcal  Economy  1.  Technical  •  Passwords  and  enrolment  •  Not  “digital  naIves”  –  steep   learning  curve  •  ImperfecIons  of  Wiki   •  No  Japanese  language  support   •  Problems  with  user  friendliness  
  • 14. Feedback  on  Wiki  •  “Wiki  is  a  very  good  idea.  But  maybe  we  could   find  some  ways  to  use  it  more  efficiently.  Like   giving  comments  to  each  other?”  •  “It  would  be  good  to  warn  the  students   beforehand  to  work  on  the  wiki  page  itself   instead  of  copying  and  pasIng  from  microsol   word  (especially  when  it  comes  to  tables,   diagrams,  etc)  as  it  will  affect  the  formaing.”  
  • 15. Feedback  on  Wiki  •  “the  wiki  markup  column  is  not  user  friendly  as  it   necessitates  familiarity  with  HTML  or  some  minor   programming  background.  it  would  be  far  more   convenient  and  user  friendly  if  it  has  a  GUI.  for  instance,   online  forums  make  it  really  easy  to  post  hyperlink,   pictures  and  other  medium  into  one  page.  the  NUS  wiki   tries  to  adopt  this  but  ends  up  looking  like  a  frankenstein   between  a  word  processor  and  a  user  inituiIve  GUI.   more  GUI  interfaces  and  deeper  integraIon  with  other   medium  e.g  youtube,  creaIng  boxes,  organizing  tools,   would  make  it  far  more  easier  to  use.”  
  • 16. “Leing  Go”  with  Technologies:   Obstacles  and  Quandaries?  Japanese  PoliJcal  Economy  1.  Technical   2.  EducaIonal  •  Passwords  and  enrolment   • Preferred  in-­‐class  Ime  as  a  •  No  Japanese  language  support   learning  experience    •  Not  “digital  naIves”  –  steep   • CauIous  to  take  ownership   learning  curve   • Currently  no  mechanism  to  •  ImperfecIons  of  Wiki   encourage  Wiki  behavior  –  the   flipside  of  “mastery”   • Overemphasis  on  “mastery”?  
  • 17. Please  rate  the  following  components  of   your  class  facilitaIon  as  a  learning   exercise.Good - I learned Not good - I did Incredible - I   learned a great something from not learn deal from doing this anything from doing this doing this1. Preview - summarizing readingsand determining themes for later 50.0% (2) 50.0% (2) 0.0% (0)discussion2. Lesson Plan - deciding what to 50.0% (2) 50.0% (2) 0.0% (0)discuss, what activities to do, etc.3. Class Meeting - running the weekly 75.0% (3) 25.0% (1) 0.0% (0)session4. Summary - writing a summary ofwhat we covered and what was 50.0% (2) 50.0% (2) 0.0% (0)missing5. Key Terms - writing Wiki articles for 25.0% (1) 75.0% (3) 0.0% (0)at least 3 key ideas from the session
  • 18. “Leing  Go”  with  Technologies:   Obstacles  and  Quandaries?  Japanese  PoliJcal  Economy  1.  Technical   2.  EducaIonal  •  Passwords  and  enrolment   • Preferred  in-­‐class  Ime  as  a  •  No  Japanese  language  support   learning  experience    •  Not  “digital  naIves”  –  steep   • CauIous  to  take  ownership   learning  curve   • Currently  no  mechanism  to  •  ImperfecIons  of  Wiki   encourage  Wiki  behavior  –  the   flipside  of  “mastery”   • Overemphasis  on  “mastery”?   • BeLer  than  lecture?  
  • 19. Rate  the  following  statements  about   your  experience  of  class  facilitaIon     Highly Agree Disagree Highly agree disagree1. Class facilitation made me more 50.0% (2) 50.0% (2) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)interested in the course material.2. Class facilitation helped me better 100.0% (4) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)understand the course material.3. Class facilitation is a more valuableexperience than attending a lecture on the 0.0% (0) 50.0% (2) 50.0% (2) 0.0% (0)same topic conducted by a lecturer.4. Class facilitation gave me a sense ofownership of the teaching and learning 50.0% (2) 50.0% (2) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)process and the knowledge I found.5. Class facilitation made me reflect on my 25.0% (1) 75.0% (3) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)own learning and the teaching I did.6. Class facilitation helped me betterunderstand and utilize concepts related to 25.0% (1) 75.0% (3) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)Japans political economy.
  • 20. Student  Feedback  •  “I  would  think  that  the  Lecturer  is  far  more   able  to  idenIfy,  correct  and  make  up  for  blind   spots  or  holes  in  the  field  of  knowledge  we   come  across.  simply  put,  the  lecturer  would   be  in  a  posiIon  to  beeer  explain  and  correct   deficiencies  in  knowledge  that  we  come   across.”    
  • 21. “Leing  Go”  with  Technologies:   Obstacles  and  Quandaries?  Field  Studies  1.  Technical    • Hardware  and  solware  (cameras,  phones,  or  tablets,  cable  or  SD  card  reader,  mulIple  terminals;  Google-­‐enabled  accounts,  photo-­‐sharing  site  (need  URL  for  photo),  internet)  2.  Ethical  • Photos  and  map  as  public  or  private?  3.  EducaIonal  • Unpredictable  results  (see  right)  • Need  more  reflecIon,  discussion    
  • 22. Student  Feedback  •  “The  mapping  exercise  is  also  about  creaIng/ discovering  our  own  knowledge  and  I  guess  thats   the  most  interesIng  part  about  field  research;   discovering  things  you  probably  wouldnt  have   noIced  by  being  a  passive  observer.”  (J,  year  3)  •  “[The  mapping  exercise]  allowed  us  to  become   parIcipants  rather  than  mere  observers  of  our   environment.  It  forced  us  to  look  beyond  what   we  saw  on  the  surface  and  quesIon  them.”  (P,   year  4)    
  • 23. Student  Feedback   Really interesting - I It was OK - I learned I only remember I dont even know learned a lot something being there - I what you are talking learned no content about (was I there?)Pre-departurelectures from Dr. 90.9% (10) 9.1% (1) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)McMorranPre-departure lessons 81.8% (9) 18.2% (2) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)from student peersPre-departurepreparation of your 72.7% (8) 27.3% (3) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)group lessonHuistenboschunderground facilities 18.2% (2) 81.8% (9) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)tour**Huistenboschalternative mapping 45.5% (5) 54.5% (6) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)exercise (w/yourphotos)Isahaya reclaimed 18.2% (2) 81.8% (9) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)land lecture and tourMinamata DiseaseMuseum survivor 45.5% (5) 54.5% (6) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)lecture
  • 24. “Leing  Go”  with  Technologies:   Obstacles  and  Quandaries?  Field  Studies  1.  Technical    • Hardware  and  solware  (cameras,  phones,  or  tablets,  cable  or  SD  card  reader,  mulIple  terminals;  Google-­‐enabled  accounts,  photo-­‐sharing  site,  internet)  2.  Ethical  • Photos  and  map  as  public  or  private?  3.  EducaIonal  • Unpredictable  results  (see  right)  • Need  more  reflecIon,  discussion  • BeLer  than  lecture?    
  • 25. Student  Feedback   Really interesting - I It was OK - I learned I only remember I dont even know learned a lot something being there - I what you are talking learned no content about (was I there?)Pre-departurelectures from Dr. 90.9% (10) 9.1% (1) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)McMorranPre-departure lessons 81.8% (9) 18.2% (2) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)from student peersPre-departurepreparation of your 72.7% (8) 27.3% (3) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)group lessonHuistenboschunderground facilities 18.2% (2) 81.8% (9) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)tour**Huistenboschalternative mapping 45.5% (5) 54.5% (6) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)exercise (w/yourphotos)Isahaya reclaimed 18.2% (2) 81.8% (9) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)land lecture and tourMinamata DiseaseMuseum survivor 45.5% (5) 54.5% (6) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)lecture
  • 26. ParIng  thoughts  •  Remember  module  aims  •  Be  brave  enough  to  “let  go”  •  Try  something  new  •  Follow-­‐up  on  efforts   –  Discussion  during  class     –  Anonymous  feedback  in  IVLE   –  Free  online  survey  tools  (SurveyMonkey,  etc)  •  Realize  when  a  technology  fails  to  meet  aims