Monday, 23 November 2015

Classroom Management

Classroom management is essential to provide students with an environment that builds and maintains a safe and respectful learning setting.  Adult learners must be treated as adults; speaking to students with an approach which is more helpful and informal rather than authoritative.  Recognizing that students often have many priorities on top of their learning goals is important factor for the instructor to remember.  The following link provides a thorough listing of good classroom management points and serves as great reminders for instructors when establishing classroom etiquette. 

  The Dos and Don'ts of Classroom Management: Your 25 Best Tips

Three that resonated most with me were:
  • Pick your rules wisely, more rules doesn't always equate to better behavior.
  • Mood is contagious, leave your baggage at the door.
  • Keep students engaged, it's key to limiting disruptive behavior

Friday, 20 November 2015

Flip it

Flipped learning has been around a long time, this approach has student’s do a pre-reading task or watch a short lecture via video before the class.  This can be done at home or wherever they choose.  The class time is freed up from presenting material to doing activities do reinforce the material already viewed and build on that knowledge.  

I am eager to install some flipped classes in our Esthetics program.  One such class would look like this. Students would watch a short video on the theory aspects of sanitation and disinfection.  Then class time is used to perform the sanitation procedures using checklists as a formative assessment tool.  In the classroom the students are actively participating in tasks connected to the content delivered via video etc, during these tasks there is greater opportunity for learners to be receiving support from their peers and receiving feedback from the instructor when needed.  There must be a safe positive environment established for students to feel comfortable and make personal learning connections.  

Our PIDP 3250 class brainstormed in class activities and ways to flip a classroom here are the suggestions, Thanks to all who contributed. 
  • Role playing
  • Homework - "Ask the expert" during class time
  • Play Jeopardy with terms introduced in the video
  • Have them critique how well the video brought concepts across
  • Get them to answer a questionnaire about the material
  • Make a pop quiz at beginning of class worth 2% 
  • Go on a field trip to a relevant destinations
  • Have a guest speaker
  • Students form groups and come up with games for class
  • Team based Learning
  • Immediate feedbvack assessment techniques
  • Discuss a audio recording or video in class  
  • Students help each other and compare, collaborate, assess and demonstrate
  • Working backwards... on purpose
  • Review the  lesson for the next day and come to school to carry out/practice the task/objective 

Another great source of in class activities and assessment ideas is here.

Thursday, 19 November 2015


Meta-cognition is our thinking about thinking.  It's our awareness about how we are learning and if we are just memorizing facts or if we understand the material, so we could teach it to others.  One way to develop meta-cognitive skills is to Journal about your learning. 
Writing journals using the Focused Conversation Model: Objective, Reflective, Interpretive and Decisional approach is a great way to compound learning.  I plan to have students regularly journal about their learning and will adopt a similar reflective process to the Focused Conversation Model we use in the PIDP course.

Virtual and Simulation Learning

The vast number of learning institutions developing and using Virtual Learning Environments today reflects the benefits for all stakeholders.   

This Virtual-Makeover   is a fantastic way for Esthetics students to play with makeup and learn complementary colour combinations without the mess or a large initial investment.  There are other fun and interactive virtual hair styling and/or makeover sites to explore and utilise in our program. 

 "The virtual learning environment needs to simulate the learning process, using goals and objectives to measure the learners’ achievement."

WOW, is my reaction to reading this article about googles new virtual reality device. This amazing cardboard virtual reality headset, works when you combine it with your iPhone or android device.  The fact that it's so cheap is wonderful, around $20.  I think this would be an amazing tool for rescue organizations to utilize to help people during critical situations until the rescue team can arrive.

Critical Thinking - Standards for Thinking

I felt a strong desire to keep these video's very accessible as I will revisit them, I'm sure many times, in the future.  Dr Richard Paul discusses intellectual Standards for Thinking and desirable attributes for thinking.  He breaks down 5 attributes within the Standards for Thinking and offers examples of questions to ask to entice high level thinking and answers.  

Intellectual Standards for Thinking:  
  • Clarity - clear thoughts (Can you elaborate? / Can you give an example?)
  • Precision - detail, specifying (relevant to context)
  • Accuracy - is this accurate (How can we test this?) 
  • Relevance - is the answer relevant to the question
  • Depth- is the  level of depth appropriate when answering a complex question
Paul, R,.  

Critical Thinking - Standards of Thought - Part 1

Critical Thinking - Standards of Thought - Part 2

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Sugata Mitra - Build a School in the Cloud

Another fabulous gem thru the PIDP 3250 discussion forum, thanks Julia.  I just finished watching a video of Sugata Mitra who speaks about his experiments with children and the remarkable results that developed when children teach themselves.  His "hole in the wall" computers gave children with no knowledge of the English language or computers, unlimited access to a computer.  In two months these children in poverty stricken and remote environments had acquired knowledge equal to wealthy children with access to mainstream education and teachers.  These children had first taught themselves English, then learned and taught each other various ambitiously difficult topics.

To let this kind of learning happen, takes a instructor who is willing to take a step back and allow the students to take control.  The instructor may prose the question but from there the students will carry out the learning process themselves.  I am keen to try this approach and can see it working well with the Anatomy and Physiology aspects of Esthetics.  Students would be asked to chose a body system and teach the class how that system interacts with the skin.  They are free to learn anyway they wish and present their lesson in class time.  Class time could also be used to look at skin cross sections under a microscope and in depth discussion on how systems in the body work together. 

I have included the link to Mr Sugata Mitra's TED talk for viewing and a link to his
SOLE - Self-Organised Learning Environment.

Got Game

I have a new understanding and appreciation of the gaming industry and the benefits games can have across our society but particularly in education. Success and motivation to persist is evident thru games providing the user repeated attempts to achieve the desired outcome. 

Peter Barrett an expert in his technological field has this to say on gamification.

Gamification  can add an exciting element to the learning process and help make previously reluctant learners enthusiastic participants. Done correctly, gamification can have a measurable effect on learning, overall skill acquisition, and knowledge transfer, because it incents timely course completion with satisfactory scores and therefore, results. 
Games foster accountability in students as they evaluate their decisions and see how those decisions have impacted on the results of their game.  This accountability encourages the student to be engaged for the entire process so they achieve optimum results.  
Trial and error is a valuable learning process and a large component in virtual games and simulations.  It enables learning to occur while eliminating  the risk or harm element to real people or equipment.  Games also introduce a level of competition in the class room which research has found increases engagement.  

Karl Kapp's article Show the Learner Visible Signs of their Learning, suggest multiple benefits to gamification in education. 
Some he lists are:
  • Demonstrating learner progress
  • Lets the learner know where they are in the learning and how far they need to go
  • Not related to other students performance
  • Scaffolding and using levels provides visible progress and maintains interest
 "One of the strengths of gamification is that it provides visible milestones of the student’s mastery of content in real time (when it is well designed)."