Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Donald Clark Plan B at ALTC2010

Donald Clark opens ALTC 2010 Conference in Nottingham.

Founder of Epic an early on-line educational publisher which he sold on for a modest fortune now has an excellent blog at http://donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com/ always controversial.

Don’t Lecture Me ! - Why we need to move away from the lecture theatre - a rabble rousing opening address.

I’ve heard some of this many times over the years and have experienced lots of awful teachers, lectures and conference presentations over the years. Donald does an entertaining spin through the challenges of getting individuals and institutions to move away from the lecture theatre. I agree with many of the challenges he identifies – but think we still have to find a way to move pedagogy on – and not least the  the pedagogues who like giving lectures when they can .. even in schools.  So not an easy challenge.

Hardly anyone who teaches in a University believes in any scientific methodology of teaching and learning or even tries to apply any of it. Collection of anecdotes rather than a data driven empirical approach and if any theories are used then they are half-baked. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs gets a doing it only survives because it is easy to put on a power point. Teachers always focus on what they are going to teach they hardly stop and think about how they are going to teach it.

Great use of teaching clip from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

The Crazy English Movement fills stadiums with 25,000 in China

Recommends  "The Media Equation " – book http://www.amazon.com/Media-Equation-Television-Information-Publication/dp/1575860538 some good ideas on applying new technologies to learning.

Teachers ask pseudo rhetorical questions and don’t really challenge learners. Lecturing grew from preaching in the middle ages and it has never really moved on. Was associated with reading and then instruction – but still a meaningless monologue.

Isaac Newton – was brilliant but no-one turned up to his lectures as no-one could understand them and his delivery was very poor – he often delivered them to empty rooms . Why put brilliant research scientists who can’t teach in front of undergraduates? Problem is not just people it is about methodology Richard Feynman teaching physics through lectures is almost an impossible task has to be through active learning.

Even the new recordings of lectures in YouTube are mostly rubbish – but it is still better to see a first class lecture on video than a mediocre one in the flesh. Russell Group Universities attendance drops to just around 50% among first years over a year.

Institutions should be looking at learning success rates and looking at how they can use technology to time shift Youtube.edu http://www.youtube.com/edu look at Lewins Lectures http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Lewin_Lectures_on_Physics , i-tunes u , MIT , Open Learn OU Don’t pad out cognitive overload - hardly anyone knows how to use text, images, sound etc in learning - there is lots more we could be doing to improve learning.

The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve – keep coming back to this

Carol Twigg – Pew Research – move to active learning approach and redesign your courses around learning http://www.thencat.org/  actually a lot of potential in this work for curriculum for excellence in schools.

People need to be able to study at a distance in a much more enlightened way and universities need to share resources in much more creative ways – most medical faculties still have art /publications departments drawing and digitizing representations of the human body in a massively inefficient ways. When capital expenditure cuts come at least it will stop lots of monument building that has been going on campuses around the country.– most university buildings run at under 50% capacity which is scandal.

The Open University model is the way ahead.

And now 63 minutes later I've forgotten half of it

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