Turning Technologies will last a few more seasons, but Fall 2014 will be the year when they jumped the shark. It’s too close to the advent of newer methods of student responses for such a large hiccup. Really a shame they couldn’t have gone out more peacefully.
I’m happy to say that it is supposed to work much better this spring. (Installing the new version on my computer as we speak.) You can check to see if you have the newest version by opening up your application, then clicking on the TurningPoint Cloud logo at the bottom on the screen. A window will appear and one of the buttons is Check for Updates.
Attending the Summer Institute here on campus this week, primarily in the role of technology support and as a representative of TLT, was a really great experience. There were many informative presentations given to prime the participating faculty for the workshop work that they would be diving into, including one given by Jennifer Frederick from Yale University’s Center for Scientific Teaching. The possibly confusing point here, is that while these Summer Institute sessions are all aimed at the departments involved in STEM education, and so therefore you are addressing a room filled with Biologists, Physicists, Mathematicians, Computer Scientists, Chemists, Engineers, etc…. “scientific teaching’ is not about teaching science, but rather teaching using effective methods that have been proven using scientific methodology.
It makes a lot of sense. These are primarily researchers. Don’t stand in front of them and tell them what they are doing wrong in the classroom and how to change it. Show them what years of data have to say about different aspects and strategies in teaching. Show them where they can find out data about the schools that their students are coming from (a great reason to hold these events at an individual institution or region is how you can really drill down to local issues – did you know that no schools in the Bronx even offer Physics in high school? (other than a charter school that doesn’t count because the students that go to that school don’t actually live in the Bronx)).
As soon as studies and data started to be presented to the faculty participating, I could feel them losing up and the defences coming down. They became more comfortable and realized that they were home among their peers.
Structure of the Summer Institutes
Engage in teaching and learning through interactive presentations, mini-seminars, group work, and discussions
Work in small groups to develop instructional materials for a general topic area
Design and adapt instructional materials that integrate active learning, assessment, and diversity and that have clear learning goals
Present and revise instructional materials based on fellow participants’ review and feedback
Three tenets of scientific teaching were explored everyday.
Active Learning (or Teaching)
Common activity teaching techniques that were demonstrated and then used in the faculty presentations included:
Think – Pair – Share
Student Response Systems (traditional clickers and low tech response cubes)
POE (Predict Observe Explain)
IMHO the event went very well and CESAME did a great job bring it to SBU. I hope everyone involved was happy with the outcomes and that the participants feel a bit revitalized the next time they are stepping into a classroom.
Here is a draft of a low tech clicker I am bring to the Summer Institute on Undergraduate STEM Education the week of July 7th.
When assembled, the students will have a cube that allows them to chose from 6 possible answers. The instructor in the room can easily see where the students are at by quickly scanning the colors being displayed. It is also possible to show student confidence by encouraging them to hold them high if they are very confident and lower if less so.