Eric Mazur - Ulearn 17
This was our first Keynote speaker for ULearn 2017. He is a physicist and educator at Harvard University. He began lecturing 30 years ago, before computers. He noticed that not much had changed in the way students were taught over hundreds of years. The lecturer or teacher stood at the front and students took notes.
Knowledge is something that needs to be constructed in the brain of the learner - not transmission
Mazur used to hand out notes after class to ensure that students stayed. He questions whether education is merely the transfer of information? Students tend to be passive observers, there was a lot of rote memorising, but students did not make sense of underlying material
Talked about thinking of education as a 2 step process. There needed to be an opportunity for students to assimilate information
- Transfer of information (in class)
- Assimilation of that information (out of class) - teachers should focus on this!
Teach by questioning rather than by telling - first taught by Socrates
Mazur talks about a particular lesson involving Newtons law of physics/motion etc. students were confused so Mazur told students to talk to each other to figure it out.
Students can explain something better to another student/beginning learner because its so clear in their mind - can still remember difficulties in learning it
- Poll (what students think, first choice)
- Discuss (peer discussion)
- Repoll (2nd answer)
- Explain (teacher to explain why)
- (then cycle repeats)
Students are asked to try and convince other students to listen to what they think
Active class - students cannot be passive, teacher doesn’t have to wait until assessment. Good for students to see where they sit in comparison to the class.
Personalises the learning because students can help each other
Thermal expansion - why do solids expand? Atoms get further away when it gets hotter
Question posed about rectangle metal plate with a circular hole in it. If heated what will happen? We made a choice then talked about it. (increase, same, decrease)
Question asked by teacher
- You made a commitment
- You externalised your answer
- You moved from the answer/fact to reasoning
- You became emotionally invested in the learning process
= higher learning gains
How to effectively transfer information outside of the classroom?
Students need time in class to think
Need time to absorb and think about information
Problems with just video only approach is that students tend to fast forward, attention wanes
Reading - transfer pace set by reader, viewer active
Brain is more active when reading rather than watching videos
Education is a social experience
Every student prepared for every class
‘Perusall’ - social learning platform. Talks about the Perusall app - great way to engage students. Students are encouraged to read and ask questions. Teacher can view students questions and see where areas of confusion are.
Collaborative process - students can type in questions and other students can type in responses to question
Use combination of intrinsic and extrinsic learning
Rubric based assessment