Category Archives: Article Review

Article Review – Transformative Learning

This week I wanted to look further into transformative learning theory. This is a theory that I came across in reading an article for last week’s article review. I was interested in reading more about this theory because I felt that it might align with my original intention for the course that I am developing for this course. I am hoping that as a result of taking this course, students will begin to see how their history impacts their lives today. I would also hope that students begin to see their inherent rights as still relevant in today’s modern world and begin to see their value. It seemed to be a transformative process in my thinking.

According to the author, many scholars have written about the transformative process in the past and their have been some critiques of it. The critique of the theory is that the research scope has always been very narrow and it did not represent enough of a variety of people to be considered a tangible theory. This author was attempting to create a study that validated this theory as being relevant to a larger group of people and environments. The author intended to not only define how this process develops but also how it changes over time. “Because transformative learning is defined as a process in which the ‘meaning perspective,’ including ‘thought, feeling and will’ (Mazirow, 1978, p. 105), fundamentally changes, understanding how these processes evolve over time is crucial.” (Nohl, 2015) The study included 80 interviews of people in different stages in their lives and of different backgrounds. The author than developed stages of transformative learning.

Five stages of transformative learning were identified. The first is described by a non-determining start. The process has to start somewhere. Participants described this stage as happening by an unanticipated instance that introduced them to something that sparked their interest. This stage is followed by a person pursuing this interest in the second stage. The participants describe self-directed inquiry about their newfound interest. The next stage is described as testing and mirroring. In this stage participants described being exposed to new practices and people who are in the environment of their interest. Then shifting relevance occurs where participants describe expansion within their new interest while old habits begin to become unimportant. This is the beginning of the transformation process. The process ends where the participants find a new social environment that stabilizes their experience and new interest into their lives.

I think this is relevant to the learning that I hope will take place in this course. I hope students will not only accept the new information, but begin to see how important it is outside of the classroom. This process is about internalizing the information being presented. And according to this article, it starts with an unanticipated instance or spark of interest. Which tells me that this class could not reach every student in this way. It may reach one student to the point where they feel inclined to move to the inquiry stage. The process also doesn’t occur in 12 weeks. So it couldn’t be included as a course outcome. It might be that one of our program outcomes is reflective of this process. If there were one student in this 100-level course that sparked an interest in this topic and pursued it, they would naturally take the rest of the Native Studies courses. That inquiry pursuit could be part of the process of acquiring a bachelors degree in Native Studies. I am just thinking out loud at this point. But this article was enlightening and I would like to know more about this theory.

Works Cited:

Nohl, A. (2015). Typical Phases of Transformative Learning: A Practice-Based Model. Adult Education Quarterly, 65(1), 35-49.

Article Review 5, Better late than never…

While researching flipped classrooms for the last article review, I noticed a reference to project based learning being ideal for realistic, thought-provoking problems. My unit idea centers around the real world problem of water waste/pollution, so I explored the concept further this week. Surprisingly, there was very little hard research on the topic, and those studies were fairly outdated, 2002 and earlier. I ended up finding an article that did a nice job consolidating and summarizing the available research out there.

David, J. (2008, February 1). What Research Says About … / Project-Based Learning. Retrieved October 29, 2015, from

The article is succinct and objective, but lacked breadth and depth of concrete details I appreciate with new ideas. The author leads with a solid working definition, “The core idea of project-based learning is that real-world problems capture students’ interest and provoke serious thinking as the students’ acquire and apply new knowledge in a problem solving context” (David p.82). Because project-based learning (PBL) involves investigating meaningful questions and seeks to develop social skills, advocates say it better prepares students for the critical thinking necessary in the workplace than traditional learning.

Despite this, PBL has yet to become widespread in public schools. The author cites lack of teacher training and time demands as the main reasons. With current educational focus on quantifiable measures, state and district standards, testing, pacing guides, RTI, and teacher evaluations based on these, it becomes easier to see why teachers are reticent to try PBL. The impact or return on investment of PBL is not immediate and not easily measured by the type of tests currently administered. Further, PBL requires tremendous front-end loading of time. For teachers that are struggling to keep up with the demands of the job, it’s a challenge to find the time and resources to build a quality unit that is outside the scope of day-to-day operations.

As I mentioned, studies measuring the effect of PBL on student achievement are few and outdated. This article briefly examines two. A British secondary study from 2002 found that students using PBL for 3 years “significantly outperformed the traditional students in mathematical skills as well as conceptual and applied knowledge” (David p. 83). Also, three times as many PBL students in this study passed the national exam as those receiving traditional instruction. Details of the study were non-existent, so I was left wondering what made this PBL so effective. Did the individual teachers create the units, or were they done, approved, and available for teachers to select? Was this methodology initiated and supported by administration? What was the socio-economic status of the school and what was their access to technology? The only other study was from Vanderbilt University’s Cognition and Technology group in 1992. Compared to the control group, PBL students in this study performed better planning and solving word problems, but both groups scored the same on basic math skills. I was a freshman in high school in 1992. I remember a taking a basic keyboarding class with dinosaur machines. I wonder how much the idea of PBL had been developed at that point and how effective the project was at engaging students. Again, there are no details of this study in the article, so I’m left to speculate. Judging by how far technology has come since 1992, I’d bet PBL isn’t the same animal it was back then either. It seems that the education world is overdue for a comprehensive study on the impacts of this constructivist approach to teaching and learning.

One interesting outcome surfaced many times as I searched and perused articles this week. PBL almost always reduced student math anxiety and led to more positive attitudes toward math. This was an anomaly to me because math is such a linear concept. Although I don’t excel at it, I’ve generally enjoyed math because of this; there is a single, concrete, correct answer that requires application of a specific formula. Knowing there are a variety of learning styles, I wonder if the reduction in anxiety with PBL is a product of the social interaction inherent in the process. Students that struggle in math can ask questions of classmates, observe problem-solving strategies, and somewhat diffuse responsibility across the group. Appearing incompetent in a small group of peers is a lot less intimidating that looking dumb in front of the teacher and the entire class. The increase in positive attitudes likely has to do with the realistic, practical, thought-provoking immersion of PBL projects. Motivation and engagement increase with student choice, a principal of PBL. Harnessing the conceptual nature of math into real-world scenarios puts the topic of math in a language we understand and care more about.

There is a final point that I want to attempt to articulate before wrapping up. The author points out that “although projects are the primary vehicle for instruction in PBL, there are no commonly shared criteria for what constitutes an acceptable project” (David p. 82). In the interest of conducting research, I can understand why one would want to establish a “criteria for what constitutes an acceptable project.” But the author seems to imply that this is a negative aspect beyond the research ramifications. Like the variability among projects, learning outcomes, and assessments acts as a barrier to legitimizing and embracing PBL. Although I think standardization can help initiate the process by reducing teacher apprehension, I firmly believe the process of designing a unit around a real-world problem and intentionally selecting active learning experiences to support critical thinking is a worthy end unto itself. Any seasoned teacher knows that some lessons really hit the mark and others miss completely. Good teaching is a work in progress. PBL is organic, developing and evolving as the process unfolds. Are we to avoid trying something we believe will benefit our students because there is no “standard” for good projects? Or do we best serve our students by trying something new and messy, knowing the end result will be a deeper connection and caring about a problem that really exists and needs the passion of the next generation?

Article Review 5

Henriksen, D., Keenan, S., Richardson, C., & Mishra, P. (2015). Rethinking technology & creativity in the 21st century: modeling as a trans-disciplinary formative skill and practice. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 59(3), 5-10.


This article came up when I did a journal article search with the keyword  play’.  It  was written by a group of authors from the “ Deep-Play Research Group’  at Michigan State University.  The article looked promising and was published in 2015, a bonus anytime you are looking at how things might interact with technology. Though the topic was obvious from the introduction section, it actually took a bit of wading before I  was able to tease out the authors’ purpose for the paper.  On the fourth page, after much initial discussion, they suddenly decided to just spell it out.  They state, we are making a case for the value of play in learning, in creativity, and as a core thinking skill that promotes new ideas and motivates growth and improvement.’   Whew.  Though I think it would have improved the entire article if they had opened with this line, it still helped to put the   article into perspective.  


Play was  first  introduced in several of its possible forms with a close look taken at what they term  “deep play’, which is credited as being an “essential component of thinking and learning’.  So what makes play, ‘play’?  According to the authors it is voluntary, intrinsically motivating  or  “ just for fun’, can engage both physical and mental  components, and involves the imagination. Parts of this definition may actually hint at the problems of  incorporating game elements in online education and producing the same motivational benefits they do in traditional gaming. If this definition of play is true, and  associated with positive engagement, than you can see where the challenge in course design to keep game  elements   both voluntary and  “just for fun’ is contrary to the nature of a course which is often somewhat  compulsory  and may have high stakes grading.  


They go on to give a very nice description of the current  research on play including a description of rough and tumble play on child development  (this  research was a little off topic for my interest in the paper but still  intrigued me as I thought about the increasing number of single child households and the current social ban on rough and tumble play.  Did you know children are not allowed to throw snowballs anymore?  But I digress…).


The authors also include a  discussion about  worldplay  (the invention of imaginary worlds by children)  and how many of the notable creative adults in society engaged in this activity as youth.  Here, I had some causal-relational  questions that were left unanswered. Which came first, the child with innate  creativity that creates imaginary worlds before going on to  produce creative works as an adult? Or does the creation of these imaginary worlds actually develop creativity as a skill that wouldn’t otherwise have emerged?  A little of both?


From world play we  change course to  take an interesting look at the creative intersection where the lines between work and play become blurred, “In the action of play, the personal self can blend into professional practice, enhancing engagement with ideas, making work and learning more fun, and leading to better insights through a willingness to explore ideas.’   And finally on to a  surprisingly  brief discussion on play in education with a few real-world examples offered.   The article concludes with a great final statement, “without creativity, we stagnate, and without play we cannot create.”


So, though this article did not go where I initially thought it would, it was interesting and had me wondering  several things.  First was how changes in  societal  values   are impacting the way our children play  and how that in turn will  impact  the way they learn. Second, what would happen if we teach our children to  worldplay and engage in that with them. Would that foster   creative potential?  Could   a school exist where the kids spend years creating such a world,   serving as a  playful  interdisciplinary vehicle for teaching  grammar, culture, values, business, history, language, economics, government etc.?  Did I just  write the charter for a new private school?  But which kids would benefit most.  Kids who are already creative or kids who haven’t tapped into  their creative selves as much. What a place to teach team processes, creativity, appreciation of diverse skill sets etc. Now, to figure out how to do all of this online.  hmmm….  I think I just created my own imaginary world!  

Article Review – Active Learning in Indigenous Studies

As we move into next week, I wanted to begin reading about active learning in Indigenous Studies. At first I attempted to search the terms, Active Learning and Indigenous Studies. But this came up with 1 article and was not quite what I was looking for. I changed my keyword search to Experiential Learning and Indigenous Studies and found many more articles to chose from. I thought that was interesting and I am not aware of any major differences between active learning and experiential learning.

I found an article written by professors from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This article discusses a course designed with an experiential learning component followed by a reflection in the form of a digital story. In Canada, like many other countries with high populations of Indigenous people, have a lack of awareness surrounding Indigenous issues. “Within the Canadian context, non-Indigenous peoples’ lack of awareness of and misinformation about Indigenous worldviews and lived colonial experiences (e.g., residential schools, the Indian Act, enfranchisement, criminalization of spiritual practices, etc.) are influenced by their systematic exclusion from educational curricula.” (Castledon, et. al, 2013) Not only are Indigenous peoples’ issues not recognized, this is perpetuated by society through the lack of education in public schools. The authors identified this as an issue and developed a course where the goal was transformation. They hoped this course would lead to transformative learning. “Transformative learning is an educational theory that seeks to promote ‘a critical dimension of learning… that enables us to recognize, reassess, and modify the structures of assumptions and expectations that frame our tacit points of view and influence our thinking, beliefs, attitudes, and actions.” (Castled, et. al, 2013) Transformative learning theory is something that I would really like to learn more about as I am developing this course in history. I really believe that Indigenous people who have lost their traditional knowledge through colonial processes could have a transformative experience when relearning it.

The results from this course were so positive, the faculty sought permission to conduct a study with the students from the course. They sent one person out to interview all the students and  once they reviewed transcriptions for accuracy they began to develop themes from the qualitative data. These included, Openness to transformation: students were aware of the importance of including Indigenous perspectives in their work but all agreed Indigenous issues were never taught in school. Transformation through relationships was another theme: the students saw value in relationship building as a way to overcome ignorance. And all students felt a sense of pride in their final digital storytelling project but also felt vulnerable because the project was personal.

This study was interesting to me. It not only gave me ideas about experiential learning to add to my history class. The students in this class went out and learned from the Mikmaq First Nations community. The elders in that community  engaged the students in learning activities that included ceremonies, sharing circles, medicine walks, and eel fishing. They also discussed environmental resource issues with elders and leaders of those communities. These are the types of activities that really make a lasting impact. Hearing from elders about their connection to the environment and beyond that to the spiritual connection is very powerful. Some students, even Indigenous students, don’t hear that in their everyday lives. This example also introduced me to a theory that I want to look deeper into. It didn’t go into detail about what the Transformative Theory is, but it sounds like it might be a good connection to the course I am developing.

Works Cited:

Castleden, H., Daley, K., Sloan Morgan, V., & Sylvestre, P. (2013). Settlers unsettled: using field schools and digital stories to transform geographies of ignorance about Indigenous peoples in Canada. Journal Of Geography In Higher Education, 37(4), 487-499. doi:10.1080/03098265.2013.796352

Online History Courses – Article Review #4

After completing the week’s assignment I wanted to find some literature on creating online courses for history classes. History is not always the most fun to learn. It has been my experience that students disengage really fast if the class is heavy with lectures. So I wanted to know what the challenges were in online history classes.

I found an article titled,  Teaching History Online: Challenges and Opportunities,  authored by Kelly Schrum and Nate Sleeter. Traditional history classes are taught with midterm and final tests. Students are required to memorize all information in-between these tests. The course discussed in this article was required to follow Virginia State Standards of Learning. So the curriculum was formed following those standards. “We started creating the online course entitled Virginia Studies  organizing it around the main chronological and thematic sections of the standards (Virginia Geography, Native Peoples, Colonial Virginia, Revolution and New Nation, Civil War, and Twentieth-century Virginia), including developing the content, topics, and structure of the course Web site.” (Schrum & Sleeter) The curriculum developers created content in multiple formats including audio, text, video, and images.

One particular aspect that this course did not address was the multiple forms of learning about history. In order to learn about history, students have to begin to see the content and resources critically. They have to sift through documents and photographs and be able to see what is authentic. “The course did not model interesting ways of thinking historically and equally important, of teaching students to this historically.” (Schrum & Sleeter) The developers designed a course that placed historical inquiry at the center. “We integrated interactive learning, personal choice in determining one’s path through the course, and a sense of discovery, and we balanced these with technical capabilities and design limitations.” (Schrum & Sleeter) This course now offers students the experience of multiple ways of learning about history. Students are asked questions that allow them to think critically about the topics in history. They can explore digital maps and links to diary entries that pertain to the topics they are learning about.

I think this was an effective model for designing an online history course. History is difficult because there isn’t really room for interpretation. We are learning about other peoples’ interpretation of history. And in Lummi history, our traditional knowledges have been misinterpreted so many times in the past, our people don’t want Northwest Indian College allowing students to continue down that path.

Schrum, K., Sleeter, N. (2013). Teaching History Online: Challenges and Opportunities.  OAH Magazine of History.  (27). pg. 35-38.

Where’s the research?

I spent way too much time this week searching for the perfect article.   I am still interested in digging into gamification and discovering the best game elements to choose, and the best ways to incorporate those elements into an eCampus design.   I have been excited about “fun theory’ in the past so I began my search looking there.   Unfortunately, though I found a lot of opinions I was not able to find any actual research on the subject.   I’m sure some exists somewhere, I just had no luck in finding it!   Next I looked a game elements and motivation and a few other things and finally settled on this article that looks at three different motivational theories and suggests ways to incorporate their principles into eCampus design.

Gutierrez (2014) first suggests that keeping one eye on motivation during the design phase of an eCampus course will positively effect learner outcomes.   She briefly introduces three theories of motivation; Flow Theory, Self-Determination Theory, and Path-Goal Theory.   After each introduction she list three or four elements that could be incorporated into eCampus design that would address the theory, such as “State Clear Objectives’ and “Provide Consistency’.

The piece was well written and well organized but I found myself wanting a little more substance in the description of each theory and did not feel that a clear connection was made as to how the design elements suggested satisfied the motivational mechanisms of the theory.   For instance the 2 elements above (State Clear Objectives’ and “Provide Consistency’) were provided as examples of Flow Theory.   Granted, I didn’t get an in-depth look at Flow Theory, but from what I did get, neither of those two elements are an obvious fit.

That being said, I do feel like a got what I came for with this article, in that I hadn’t really ever heard of Path-Goal Theory or Self-Determination Theory.   And I did hear enough about both of these theories to know that I am interested in exploring them further.   Especially Self-Determination Theory which, it turns out,   suggest three goals for the designer to inspire intrinsic motivation in the learner: competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Now that does make sense to me and I would like know read get a little closer to the source of that one.   I guess that will be a subject for another review!

Gutierrez, K. (2014). Designing for motivation: Three theories eCampus designers can use.
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Article 4 – Parent Perspectives on Online Learning

I’ve been interested in seeing what parents and guardians think of online classes. As we’ve moved through the course so far this hasn’t exactly been something that’s come up. Whether educators like it or not, parent opinion on education does (sometimes) play a pretty significant role in determining what a child does in school. So, this week, I’m reviewing “Learning Online at the K-12 Level: A PARENT/GUARDIAN PERSPECTIVE,” by Chris Sorensen, which looks at responses from ninety-two parents and/or guardians of K-12 students regarding their thoughts on online education.

The article begins with a brief overview of some of the pros and cons of online education in general, and focuses on a variety of age levels.  The article is a little vague in its intent, stating only that the research was meant to “gain insight into the experiences that parents/guardians had when their child(ren) took online courses and how they may view online education” (Sorensen, 2012, 298). What would have been nice is if Sorensen had set up a second round of research questions, focused on suggestions, improvements, or longer-term satisfaction, since this research was done immediately after the school year ended. It’s not clear whether the parents’ and guardians’ opinions would’ve changed a year down the road.  The study is qualitative and focuses on four very wide-ranging questions (though the questionnaire had 17 items) and the researcher is kind enough to boil down the top five most common results for each question instead of making the reader schlep through huge tables.

Some of the most common concerns that parents have are the sorts of things that the designer for an online course has a relatively small amount of control over. They’re worried that students won’t stay on schedule or may not be self-disciplined enough to complete tasks (Sorensen, 2012, 300).  Other issues that parents had are definitely within the instructor’s control – level of teacher interaction, positive environment, flexibility and pace, etc. (Sorensen, 2012, 301 & 303). What is probably most interesting, to me, is that a significant number of parents were worried that their children might not receive the level of socialization common in face-to-face schools (Sorensen, 2012, 304). The article seems to brush over that one a bit, which I find really strange. To me, that seems like something that maybe needs addressing. The article isn’t (unfortunately) make a lot of analytical claims, though, and is just reporting on qualitative findings. However, given the fact that so many articles about online education are addressing social aspects (especially more and more as social media grows) it seems a little strange to not at least alleviate those concerns in some way.

The main two findings are not at all surprising. The first is that  the  “most challenging aspect for parents/guardians of online students was trying to keep their child(ren) on schedule and organized with their coursework” (Sorensen, 2012, 305). I’d be willing to bet that you didn’t  really need  to do research to find that out. Likewise, the biggest positive that parents pointed to was that they felt as there “there seemed to be a higher amount of interaction, support, and communication” between teachers and parents/students (Sorensen, 2012, 305). Maybe a little surprising, but still, it perhaps would have been much more useful of an article had the questions been more specific and had there been follow up of some kind.

It is sometimes difficult to critique shorter qualitative articles. However, what I normally like about qualitative articles is that you will often find the researcher spending pages ruminating about a wide variety of possible ramifications of their research. Sure, things might not always be 100% accurate, but some of the best and most creative thinking in the social sciences can be found in the “Discussion” sections of qualitative research. This article is not that way, and I find that very disappointing. If you’re interested in seeing some of the basic concerns and testimonies from parents regarding online classes, go take a look at it, as it does a fine job summarizing its findings. Where this article really fell flat for me was in the fact that some of the most interesting findings weren’t discussed at length. I was a little surprised to see that parents thought there was  more communication in online classes than in traditional classes! I took an online class in high school that didn’t even have a teacher assigned to it! That’s something I would’ve liked to hear about in more detail. Maybe I’m just so used to being long-winded that I expect other writers to be the same way?



SORENSEN, C. (2012). Learning Online at the K-12 Level: A PARENT/GUARDIAN PERSPECTIVE. International Journal Of Instructional Media, 39(4), 297-307.



Case Studies and the Flipped Classroom

C. F. Herreid, and N. A. Schiller, “Case studies and the flipped classroom,’ Journal of College Science Teaching, 42(5), 2013, pp.62-66.

This week I found a great article on flipped classrooms, which was a technique I wanted to learn more about through this class. The authors describe, “In the flipped classroom model, what is normally done in class and what is normally done as homework is switched or flipped” (Herried & Schiller, 2013). Typically students in a flipped class would be assigned reading or viewing of videos on their own, outside of the formal classroom setting. With this advanced preparation, students then complete homework in class, with guidance or support of the teacher. More importantly, class time can be dedicated to active learning pursuits such as case studies, games, simulations, experiments, or lab activities. In reviewing several case studies on the topic, the authors found this style of teaching advantageous for many reasons. Some of the upsides were intuitive, such as students having the ability to move at their own pace, instructors gaining better insight into specific difficulties with homework completed in the presence of teachers, and more time working with scientific equipment that is only available in the classroom. Other reported advantages were more insightful or surprising to me. “Teachers can more easily customize and update the curriculum and provide it to students 24/7” and “teachers using the method report seeing increased levels of student achievement, interest, and engagement (Herried & Schiller, 2013). Good teachers know that motivation and engagement is at the heart of good teaching. In our electronic age, using videos to teach creates an appeal and an illusion of fun that is a precursor to curiosity and self-directed exploration.
Flipped classrooms have gained a foothold in Business schools and the humanities, where critical thinking and situational problem solving skills can be honed through case studies. STEM departments have been slower to adopt the methodology. Some of the explanation for this is that the “hard skills” necessary for these disciplines takes considerable time and practice to develop. The pendulum is swinging though and prevailing thought is that time and practice spent mastering a skill is better spent in the presence of an instructor than independently, outside of the classroom. Several studies cited in this article testified to improved grades, increased interest, and less intimidation about STEM subject matter in a flipped versus a traditional classroom.
The flipped approach, however, presents its own set of challenges. The authors state “students new to the method may be initially resistant because it requires that they do work at home rather than be first exposed to the subject matter in school” (Herried & Schiller, 2013). Change is time-consuming and intimidating; as we get older, we get more set in our ways and transitioning to a new way of doing or thinking becomes increasingly difficult. If a student has alway been introduced to new material with the safety net of peers and instructor near by, they may be resistant to the flipped methodology. This leads to students coming to class unprepared for the active learning part of the lesson. Teachers can combat this by giving quizzes or homework on material addressed only in outside reading or videos. Another challenge is finding quality videos on specific subject matter. Watching a video at home can only be a value-adding activity if the content truly prepares student for the in-class activity. This means teachers often need to create their own videos that are specific and targeted at the topic in question. This is extremely time consuming and often leads to marginal quality video presentations, at best. The authors recommend the Kahn Academy ( and BozemanScience ( as sources of good educational videos. Teachers creating their own videos are using Camtasia, PaperShow, ShowMe, Educreations, and Explain Everything. They then post their new videos to YouTube, iTunes U, and Podcasts (Herried & Schiller, 2013).
With the mounting case study evidence across academic disciplines, the future of flipped classrooms is bright. I think this model is popular with both teacher and students because its focus is increased time for active learning scenarios with less emphasis on lectures and passive learning. The authors of this article suggest that the next logical step in promoting this methodology is the standardization and sharing of cases and videos. They invite teachers and education professionals to upload videos they’ve created to the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science ( and to utilize videos and case studies available in their database.
This topic was really interesting to me, and made me realize that we used this model often in my undergraduate Business Management and Marketing courses. I didn’t have a name for it at the time, but remember liking the format because we were able to demonstrate what we had recently learned and test ideas with classmates and instructors while new information was still in short-term, working memory. Case studies are so much more practical and applicable to the real world than text book definitions of concepts or practices. The biggest benefit of this article, however, was insight into how I might confront challenges with the unit plan we’re designing for this course. As stated in the “situational factors” weekly writing, I will likely only have one class meeting of 2-3 hours with each outreach group. This is not much time to activate prior knowledge, hook interest, engage in learning activities, and discuss implications outside of the classroom. A light bulb went off in my head reading this article. Why don’t I find or develop short videos on the topic, then send them to teachers to view with their class prior to field trip day? It’s an engaging way to prime students for the visit and lets me set the stage before the learning activities. Coming into the store, they’ll be more invested in the event because they have a frame of reference and have developed questions of personal interest around the topics we’ll cover. I love when we inadvertently stumble onto ideas that have the potential to make life easier while adding value and meaning to learning in the eyes of our students.

Article Review #3

After reading this week’s readings and watching the videos I wanted to know more about Peer Instruction and non-traditional methodologies that instructors are using. I found an article titled,  Changing Classroom Designs: Easy; Changing Instructors’ Pedagogies: Not So Easy…  The title interested me in the beginning. I wanted to know more about how technology and methodology interact in the classroom.

According to the authors, traditional classroom settings are teacher-centered. In this model, the instructor delivers knowledge to students and this is the only transmission of information. In non-traditional classrooms, such as Peer Instruction, students are able to construct their own knowledge and share it with other students. This approach is student-centered.

The purpose of the study was to find out if technology played a role in the success of student-centered methodologies. The authors claim that the student-centered pedagogy and technological classrooms go hand-in-hand. One finding was that active learning pedagogies had higher success rates than teacher-centered pedagogies regardless of the classroom technology. In the Youtube videos we watched, Mazur used clickers for the initial student interaction. And the study found that this method works equally well with flashcards or other tools.

I thought this article was interesting because the Youtube videos grasped my attention. I really enjoyed watching the student initiated discussions and interactions. This pedagogy is something I would like to be more deliberate about introducing in my classrooms. Students learn from me in the classroom but really, in my own educational experience, I learned more from my peers. I learned more going to dinner with peers after class then from lectures sometimes. It makes me reflect on Mazur’s question of how we learn. Most people do not say they learned how to do something really well by attending a lecture.

Works Cited:

Lasry, N., Charles, E., Whittaker, C., Dedic, H., & Rosenfield, S. (2012). Changing Classroom Desings: Easy; Changing Instructors’ Pedagogies: Not So Easy…  Physics Education Research Conference, AIP Conference Proceedings. 238-241.