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An Approach to Creative Classrooms


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This article reflects on 13 years of experience lecturing blended learning higher education courses, in the Polytechnic of Porto. The reflection presented in this paper focus on different learning experiences, special on gamification and how it can make learning and evaluation enjoyable. We implement a new learning environment on higher education. Instead of using the time in-class for lectures we gave online lectures to the students using videos, social network, webinars and interactive e-contents and use the time in-class to promote debates, synchronous communication with students from Portugal and Brazil and other interactive learning activities. In each class we also promote learning activities based on the gamification theory. In this article we present a learning model that we are using in our institution that combines face to face sessions and online sessions in a global higher education environment.

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An Approach to Creative Classrooms

  1. 1. AN APPROACH TO CREATIVE CLASSROOMS ECEL 16th European Conference on eLearning 26 - 27 October 2017, Porto, Portugal What is our mission? 1 2 3 4 5 Research in the Field of Pedagogical Innovation Dissemination and Participation in e-Learning Networks Infrastructure and Support Training Quality and Continuous Improvement Ideal Learning Environment When we think on the ideal learning environment and compare it to the real learning environment we attest that there is a huge gap between them. Not so unfrequently when we receive a student in higher education we give them all the materials, all the answers, so they do not have to make decisions. They are used to have someone to decide instead of them. Someone say what subject they have to study, what they will learn in that subject, what they have to do, everything … and when they start working on the market they feel insecurity and this is because anyone taught them or prepared them to make decisions. Flipped Classroom The objective of the design of a flipped lesson is to maximize the students’ participation in online and offline activities. This should consider the development of activities in the classroom and outside the classroom, to encourage students’ creativity as well as their motivation. We are increasing the usage of flipped classroom through podcasting, videos sharing and other social media instructional applications to delivery contents. Students watch lectures and reflect on it out of the class and the in-time class is used to promote collaboration, discussion and practical work. In this scenario, students are fostered to lead and control their own learning process through the development of preparatory work and can be more active in classroom. Here are many advantages in using a flipped classroom approach: Students can learn at their own pace, they can have more flexibility of time and place, they can participate in more deep discussions. In this sense, this paradigm puts more responsibility to the students and prepare them well to the work force with skills to address 21st century. This approach has the potential to improve students with higher level of thinking, autonomy, build the ability to be prepared to the lifelong learning and to be prepared to the work place. Learning Contents Each learning unit is presented with the elements needed to guide learners in achieving the learning objectives Sufficient library resources are made available to the students students are provided with supplemental course information that outlines course objectives, concepts, and ideas Students should be provided with hands-on training Concerning the modules/lessons/units it is important to provide a glossary of terms associated to the learning materials. A distinction between compulsory and recommended study/reading materials should be made. The bibliography should be commented. They should be structured to facilitate individual study and the development of study skills. They should be current, present a variety of perspectives on the course contents adequate to the learners’ needs, knowledge, and experience Contents should be relevant and clearly presented Introduce, assess and reinforce new concepts and skills, should be logically structured and sequenced The contents should be sufficient and not in excess. They should be challenging, centred on the student, be relevant for students’ life, allow the interaction, and tell a story with emotion. Little pieces of content are better than more extensive ones. The language should be simple and include visual elements. Any noise should be deleted. It is important to capture students’ attention in the beginning, trying to evolve with contents. Resources should be adequately balanced regarding cognitive load and presented in a sub-divided form, in a logical sequence, without extra information. Independent learning materials should provide learners with regular feedback through self-assessment activities or tests. It is also important to ensure that contents are provided in a flexible manner, allowing different learning paths customization and personalization to individual learning styles Concerning the modules/lessons/units it is important to provide a glossary of terms associated to the learning materials and available from any part of the course A distinction between compulsory and recommended study/reading materials should be made. The bibliography should be commented. EIPP Tutors Coordenação Pro-Presidente Doutora Paula Peres U. Formação – Doutor Armando Silva U. I&D – Doutor Lino oliveira U. Conteúdos – Doutor Ângelo Jesus Tutor skills As online teacher's skills are very different from those required of a “traditional” teacher, this new environment for higher education implies a new experience and mentoring of an online and face to face course (blended-learning). The performance of this team takes place in various dimensions including educational, management, technical and social. We can move the learning activities beyond the learning management systems, trying to and engage students in an active use of the Web as a resource for their self-regulated study, for problem solving and collaborative activities. Students should develop a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) where they integrate formal and informal learning, using social media. Main Conclusions With these experiences it was possible to enhance skills/competences of students involved. Students that are involved in this learning environment besides the cognitive competences are also developing social and technical competences. They are acquiring the technical competences since they are using the Moodle platform and different online social and learning environments. According to the questionnaire and our experience we attest that in general students prefer face to face method of learning mainly because they do not have had any b-learning experience. The major of students never did an online course. But, since some of them are starting involving in this kind of environment and since almost students would like to used technology in the lessons and use technology to study and develop academic works, this scenario is changing