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You’re Already Harnessing the Science of Learning (You Just Don’t Know It)

This post was first published on EdSurge Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International LicenseTen years ago, I read an article in the New York Times with dismay. It was about how clickers were all the rage in schools across the country. It featured colorful photos of students using clickers and quotes from teachers who were thrilled with students’ newfound enthusiasm in class.
The article focused on how clickers could help boost engagement and gamification in the classroom. But it only mentioned the word “learn” twice.As cognitive scientists who conduct research on learning, my colleagues and I were baffled. Scientists have demonstrated the power of retrieval, or bringing information to mind, for more than 100 years. Our research on using clickers in a public K-12 school district near St. Louis showed dramatic benefits on student achievement—even increasing students’ grades from a C to an A. So why wasn’t learning featured more prominently in an article abo…
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The Long Awaited G Suite Integration is Here: Introducing Course kit

G Suite productivity and communication tools are great generic tools for schools and universities.  Google Classroom has some features of an LMS with a very minimalist social networking interface that can get any teacher on board in as little as 30 minutes. However, many universities and schools already have their own LMS, mostly tightly integrated with their SIS and ERP. While many universities and schools have already integrated G Suite for Education with their LMS, it was mainly available for Single Sign on, using students’ G Suite account to log in to their LMS, and assignment submission repository via Drive. Google now introduced a new LTI tool “Course Toolkit”. Below it LTI integration details from Google Blog. Enter Course Kit—a free toolkit that allows instructors to use Google Docs and Drive to collect assignments, give faster and richer feedback to students, and share course materials within the LMS they’re already using. Course Kit is built using the Learning Tools Interope…

The Importance of Sound Pedagogy while Using Moodle: A case of one college

As much as I am always excited working with Moodle, the truth is that many Moodle users do not use sound pedagogy to have an impact on student achievement. Moodle HQ understand it very well, or are at least beginning to know the importance of sound pedagogy. That’s why they appointed a new pedagogy Adviser (read the interview). The main Moodle site also includes some pedagogical resources. Moodle also gives annual MOOCs for teachers and instructors to learn how to use Moodle from a pedagogical approach. There is however a problem when Moodle partners deliver those professional development sessions on Moodle as these sessions tend to be heavily reliant on Moodle features. They are not crafted to meet the professional needs or open possible opportunities for educators attending those sessions. This post will discuss how one college, through a review study of their Moodle use has unsightly came to the conclusion that Moodle is viewed as unsatisfactory for faculty members and students. Re…

8 Free Interactive Video Tools to Impact Student Learning

This post was first  published on my company blog.As educators, we all know that videos engage students more than reading texts. Although having students analyze and reflect on videos should be balanced with textual analysis and interpretations, videos do have the added value of using the visual and auditory channels to help students retain more information so that they can be in a better position to  deconstruct the messages encoded in the video, reflect on it, and discuss with peers. However, like reading texts, especially long intricate texts, students need embedded formative feedback. Watching a 20 minute video for example might disengage a student, or might include more information than the student can retrieve. The best solution to help students think about the video they are watching is embedded questions and discussions. This is why we have listed 8 free video tools that can help you, more or less, build activities or questions around videos students watch at home as part of a…

Improving Student Learning with Effective Learning Techniques Part 3: Summarization

Students often need to read and understand a lot of information by extracting the more important ideas. This requires discarding less important ideas and connecting ideas within a text. Accomplishing these goals requires student to write summaries of to-be-learned texts (often as part of or pre-requisite to  text analysis and evaluation). Although summarizing a text is considered an instructional goal of its own right, the post is only concerned whether improve student performance on subsequent criterion tests on the same materials. Description and Why it should workAs an introduction to the issues relevant to summarization, we begin with a description of a prototypical experiment. Bretzing and Kulhavy (1979) had high school juniors and seniors study a 2,000-word text about a fictitious tribe of people. Students were assigned to one of five learning conditions and given up to 30 minutes to study the text. After reading each page, students in a summarization group were instructed to wr…

Learn the Levels of SOLO Taxonomy

This post was first published on my company’s blog, Eductechalogy.In an earlier post we said that Bloom’s taxonomy, although well known among teachers and schools is unreliable and does not transfer well for classroom tasks (more used for teacher assessments). We said that SOLO taxonomy has a great potential for differentiated instructions, tasks, and assessments, all whilst having students keen about their SOLO development. In this post we have created a short interactive presentation of SOLO taxonomy. It introduces the basics of SOLO with the symbols for each of the 5 levels (taken from Pam Hook).
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Improving Student Learning with Effective Learning Techniques Part 2: Self-Explanation

Description and Why it should workIn the originative study on self-explanation, Berry (1983) explored its impacts on logical reasoning using the Wason card-selection task. In this task, a student might see four cards labeled “A,” “4,” “D,” and “3" and be asked to indicate which cards must be turned over to test the rule “if a card has A on one side, it has 3 on the other side” (an instantiation of the more general “if P, then Q” rule). Students were first asked to solve a concrete instantiation of the rule (e.g., flavor of jam on one side of a jar and the sale price on the other); accuracy was near zero. They then were provided with a mini- mal explanation about how to solve the “if P, then Q” rule and were given a set of concrete problems involving the use of this and other logical rules (e.g., “if P, then not Q”). For this set of concrete practice problems, one group of students was prompted to self-explain while solving each problem by stating the reasons for choosing or not c…