The following quote from Michael (2001) was circulated at the Variety in Chemistry Education 2010 conference today. I though it was worthwhile to share!
We would never dream of going into the research lab without knowing the latest methodologies and without knowing what those other “experts” out there are thinking about. But we routinely do just that when we go into the classroom. So, we need to teach the way we do research. We need to start by educating ourselves through faculty development programs, through our own reading…and by attending teaching sessions at professional meetings… The list of possibilities is a long one.
And we need to approach the phenomena that occur in our classrooms, what works and what doesn’t work, what helps our students to learn and what doesn’t seem to help them, with the same attitude of inquiry with which we approach interesting phenomena in the laboratory. We must be prepared to “experiment,” to make changes in what we do and how we do it when we observe that things aren’t working or when we learn about better ways to accomplish whatever we seek to accomplish. If nothing else, such an approach to teaching makes teaching a more intellectually stimulating activity and, as a bonus, a lot more fun!
Joel Michael “In Pursuit of Meaningful Learning” Advances in Physiology Education 25: 145-158 2001 (Extract from page 156).
Tomorrow I am off to the Variety in Chemistry Education 2010 Conference in Loughborough. My previous experience of this conference was a very positive one; in particular the format which comprises short, to the point presentations rigidly and fairly regulated by the chair.
I will be presenting some of our work on the use of reflective video to engage students and am looking forward to the technology-focussed sessions.
I also hope to provide a few tweets and will be using the hashtag #Variety10. Does anyone know if this is the official one?
The abstract of my talk is below:
For the past two years we have provided first-year undergraduate students on bioscience courses the opportunity to make short reflective video logs of their experience in chemistry practical classes. Three practical groups per laboratory session are provided with a video camera and brief instruction on its use. Each group must reflect on particular aspects of the practical, highlighting anything they found difficult and offering advice to someone who may be repeating the experiment at a later time. In so doing this promotes engagement with practical work during the session and thought towards how the material relates to lectures and other parts of the course. The videos are then uploaded to a video sharing website (YouTestTube.com) hosted on university servers and shared with everyone enrolled on the introductory chemistry module. Students may view, rate and comment upon their colleagues’ videos in a manner similar to the popular video sharing website You Tube. The software used to construct the website also contains social networking functions allowing students to ‘make friends’ with other members of the module group. This reflective tool has provided a collaborative and inclusive peer-learning environment for bioscience students in a subject that is often perceived as difficult and at a time when transition issues to university study may be encountered.
You can find out more about our reflective video project here.