My absolute favorite lecture in this course is Thinking Better with Machines (Google Drive PPT with links and embedded videos), which is an exploration of the philosophies behind the construction of social technologies so that students can better consider how to use these powerful tools.
The Invictus Writers project was conceptualized precisely as a way to remove the teacher as the primary motivator, and replace that with “the audience” as primary motivator. That required the project to have as many front-facing, student-led initiatives as possible.
Last week I wrote a post (“Constructivism, Transmedia Thinking, and Why the Classroom Doesn’t Work”) that explored some of the reasons that I struggle with teaching creative arts within the confines of a structured classroom. This week I wanted to explore a second part to that argument: Constructivist teaching experiences work best when the outcome is applied research aimed at solving a real-world problem.
One fact stands out as I’ve read: the formula for learning I experienced in Dr. Frager’s class is one that I’ve seen discussed in various formats in all those works: Science + practical application + sharing = learning.
What I’ve started to work on is creating better learning groups. I’ve done this by eliminating small group work, and replacing that with large group work. Rarely will I use the 4-person group. Instead, I’m looking for ways to get an entire class working in parallel to solve on problem. Here’s my latest (and best) example:
The role of reading in American society is changing. We need look no further for evidence than research studies aggregated in books such as The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupifies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30) and Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses that examine the Millennial generation who neither read nor understand the fundamental cognitive structures developed by reading.