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researchEDHome Webinar: Tips for Emergency Remote Teaching

On Friday May 1, I gave a webinar / presentation for researchEDHome. In contrast with most other webinars he chose to keep the presentation short (it was less than 20 minutes which is an accomplishment for Paul J) and devote more than 40 minutes to a Q&A with the participants. The theme of the webinar was Ten Tips for Emergency Remote Teaching. Note that he doesn’t speak of online learning which is a well-designed and thought out design, development, production, and delivery of self-study materials, but rather of emergency remote teaching.

emergency remote

I explained that because of the Corona/Covid-19 pandemic, we’re all going through a period that none of us has ever experienced. With respect to teaching and learning, kids can’t attend school and we must help them learn at home. And this might last weeks or months. Fortunately, working online can offer a solution. What we need to understand is that while many of the principles used are ‘the same’ as the instructional techniques involved in face-to-face teaching, they are not all (completely) the same as what we do in the classroom. My presentation presented 10 (actually 11) useful tips to help teachers and their students.

Here is the video. In the blurb/notes is a link to my slides.

In these times of lockdowns and physical distancing, teaching at a distance (emergency remote teaching) requires us to think harder about how to teach well. Here are 10 (actually 11) tips to help!

Read

researchEDHome Webinar: Tips for Emergency Remote Teaching

On Friday May 1, I gave a webinar / presentation for researchEDHome. In contrast with most other webinars he chose to keep the presentation short (it was less than 20 minutes which is an accomplishment for Paul J) and devote more than 40 minutes to a Q&A with the participants. The theme of the webinar was Ten Tips for Emergency Remote Teaching. Note that he doesn’t speak of online learning which is a well-designed and thought out design, development, production, and delivery of self-study materials, but rather of emergency remote teaching.

emergency remote

I explained that because of the Corona/Covid-19 pandemic, we’re all going through a period that none of us has ever experienced. With respect to teaching and learning, kids can’t attend school and we must help them learn at home. And this might last weeks or months. Fortunately, working online can offer a solution. What we need to understand is that while many of the principles used are ‘the same’ as the instructional techniques involved in face-to-face teaching, they are not all (completely) the same as what we do in the classroom. My presentation presented 10 (actually 11) useful tips to help teachers and their students.

Here is the video. In the blurb/notes is a link to my slides.

In these times of lockdowns and physical distancing, teaching at a distance (emergency remote teaching) requires us to think harder about how to teach well. Here are 10 (actually 11) tips to help!

Read

Chillen ≠ Chillen: Wakeful Resting

Stel, je leerlingen zijn klaar met leren en willen een beetje chillen. Maar hoe? Ze zijn heel braaf geweest en hebben tijdens het leren niet op internet gezeten, omdat ze al weten hoe slecht multitasken is (zie bijvoorbeeld hier en hier). Eindelijk nu toch maar even de telefoon pakken en wat appen of snapchatten? Een Sudoku of kruiswoordpuzzel maken? Gamen? Of misschien gewoon de ogen dichtdoen en lekker niksen? Want doet het er eigenlijk toe op welke manier ze uitrusten?

the first discovered minimal 9x9 sudoku puzzle with 40 givens

Je zou denken van niet, maar het is toch zo: hoe je uitrust, blijkt wel degelijk invloed te hebben op leren en onthouden. Onlangs las ik een aantal artikelen over wakeful resting, wakker uitrusten: ogen dicht en een tijdje niksen. Ik moet eerlijk toegeven dat ik nooit eerder van dit verschijnsel had gehoord én niet wist dat het uitmaakt hoe je precies chilt na het studeren. Dat laatste blijkt al bekend sinds het einde van de negentiende eeuw!

In 1894 bestudeerden de Duits-Amerikaanse psycholoog Hugo Münsterberg en collega’s de effecten van verschillende soorten rustpauzes op leren en onthouden. Als de deelnemers aan hun experimenten denkactiviteiten moesten uitvoeren nadat ze iets geleerd hadden, herinnerden ze zich er minder van en maakten ze meer fouten dan na een tijdje niets doen. En in 1900 deden de Duitse psycholoog Georg Müller en zijn student Alfons Pilzecker een ontdekking: hoe langer de tijd tussen de bestudering van twee woordenlijsten, hoe beter de studenten de eerste lijst onthielden.

Fast-forward naar het heden. Een aantal recente artikelen (2012 tot 2019) over dit onderwerp trok mijn aandacht. Allemaal hadden ze een vergelijkbare opzet. Kinderen of volwassenen kregen iets om te leren, bijvoorbeeld één of twee teksten of een woordenlijst in de eigen of een vreemde taal. Daarna moest de helft van de deelnemers een opdracht doen waarover ze moesten nadenken, zoals een puzzel oplossen of de verschillen tussen twee plaatjes zoeken. Hiervoor kregen zij zo’n acht tot tien minuten. De andere helft mocht gedurende die tijd een ‘wakkere pauze’ nemen: hun ogen dichtdoen en verder niets. Vervolgens kregen alle deelnemers onverwacht een toets, direct na de rustpauze of na een aantal dagen (in de meeste studies een week) en soms allebei.

Bij al deze experimenten zagen de onderzoekers dezelfde resultaten. De deelnemers die niets hadden hoeven doen, hadden beter onthouden wat ze moesten leren. Dit gold direct na de pauze, maar ook nog na een week.

Hoe kan nietsdoen zo’n positieve invloed hebben? De onderzoeksresultaten zijn te verklaren aan de hand van twee theorieën: de interferentie- en de consolidatietheorie. Het kost tijd voordat onze herinneringen stabiel worden opgeslagen in ons langetermijngeheugen (consolidatie). Vóór deze opslag – dus direct na het leren – zijn onze herinneringen vatbaar voor verstoringen (interferentie). Die verstoring kan een activiteit zijn waarbij je wederom informatie moet verwerken. Hoe meer tijd (een kwartier, halfuur, uur) er zit tussen het opnemen van de leerstof en zo’n verstorende activiteit, des te kleiner de verstorende invloed en des te stabieler de herinnering.

Wat betekent dit voor het leren? Kort gezegd: actief uitrusten verstoort het opslagproces, terwijl wakker uitrusten – even de ogen dicht – het proces juist bevordert.. Bij bellen, appen, het nieuws lezen, snapchatten, gamen of surfen moet je nadenken: allemaal vormen van actief en dus verstorend uitrusten. Gewoon chillen, al is het maar voor een kwartier, zorgt dat je beter onthoudt en dus meer leert. Ouders, leraren, scholen en leerlingen zelf doen er goed aan om hier notie van te nemen. Niets doen is in dit geval iets goeds doen.

Dewar, M., Alber, J., Butler, C., Cowan, N., & Della Sala, S. (2012). Brief wakeful resting boosts new memories over the long term. Psychological Science, 23, 955–960. doi:10.1177/09567 97612 44122 0

Martini, M., Martini, C., Bernegger, C., & Sachse, P, (2018). Post-encoding wakeful resting supports the retention of new verbal memories in children 13–14 years. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 37, 199-210. doi:10.1111/bjdp.12267

Martini, M., Riedlsperger, B., Maran, T., & Sachse, P. (2017). The effect of post-learning wakeful rest on the retention of second language learning material over the long term. Current Psychology. doi:10.1007/s1214 4-017-9760-z

Martini, M., Zamarian, L., Sachse, P., Martini, C., & Delazer, M. (2019). Wakeful resting and memory retention: a study with healthy older and younger adults. Cognitive Processing, 20, 125–131. doi:10.1007/s10339-018-0891-4

Müller, G. E., & Pilzecker, A. (1900). Experimentelle Beiträge zur Lehre vom Gedächtnis [Experimental contributions to the teaching of memory]. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, Ergänzungsband 1, 1–300.

Münsterberg, H., Campbell, W. W., Bigham, J., Pierce, A. H., Calkins, M. W., & Pierce, E. (1894). Studies from the Harvard Psychological Laboratory (II). Psychological Review, 1(5), 441–495. doi:10.1037/h0069000

Stel, je leerlingen zijn klaar met leren en willen een beetje chillen. Maar hoe? Ze zijn heel braaf geweest en hebben tijdens het leren niet op internet gezeten, omdat ze al weten hoe slecht multitasken is (zie bijvoorbeeld hier en hier). Eindelijk nu toch maar even de telefoon pakken en wat appen of snapchatten? Een Sudoku of kruiswoordpuzzel maken? Gamen? Of misschien gewoon de ogen dichtdoen en lekker niksen? Want doet het er eigenlijk toe op welke manier ze uitrusten?

Read

Tips for effective teaching if you have to teach at a distance

This blog is based on the book ‘Lessons for Learning’, a translation of a recent Dutch language book, which should be coming out before the summer. The book is a collaboration between Tim Surma, Kristel Vanhoyweghen, Dominique Sluijsmans, Gino Camp, Daniel Muijs, and myself.

Because of the Corona pandemic, we’re all going through a period that none of us have ever experienced. With respect to teaching and learning, kids can’t attend school and we must help them learn at home. And this might last weeks or months. Fortunately, online education offers a solution, but the instructional techniques involved are not (completely) the same as what we do in the classroom during face-to-face education.

Here are a few simple pointers to help:

1. An important advice beforehand: Stick to the essentials.

Beware of offering too much new subject matter and possibly concentrate more on maintaining previously learned subject matter. This advice is powerful and good to follow, because learning materials that you don’t repeat is forgotten. Think of the infamous dip after the summer holidays!

2. Frame new subject material that you want students to learn in the bigger picture.

Clearly indicate what your students should learn and place this in a larger picture so that they have some context. Provide them with what Ausubel once called ideational scaffolding or anchor points that help them structure the new materials and direct their learning process.

3. Refer to relevant prior knowledge students have and can look up.

The most important factor in learning new things is what you already know. Make sure your students know what specific prior knowledge is expected of them and where they can find it if it’s no longer in their heads. Where can they go if they no longer understand certain concepts, have forgotten formulas or if previously acquired skills no longer work?

4. Communicate concrete goals and / or success criteria with the subject matter.

Obviously the goals and expectations that you have set are for you, as teacher, are clear. Pupils don’t always find clear what exactly is expected of them and to what level they should master the material.

5. Have students study a detailed example before starting the exercises.

One way to use examples effectively is to use worked-out examples. These are problems or exercises where the solution is completely worked out, step-by-step. Another type of example is a modeling example. You carry out the task yourself (in a YouTube maybe) and during the solution process you constantly also tell why you do certain things.

6. Offer students support during practice.

Not everyone understands the content immediately. It’s important to realise this so that you have alternate routes and examples ready just in case. You must do your best to match the knowledge and skills of the students with what they need to learn. Use scaffolding to support students and decrease this as they better understand the material. This can be difficult given the current circumstances.

7. Have students actively process the subject matter.

Studying the subject matter isn’t enough. Therefore, give your students assignments that activate the processing of the material. Have students elaborate (expand): Formulate questions that get them thinking. Think of questions about: What? Where? Who? When? Why? How? Here too, ensure that students can improve and i their answers.

8. Let students find out whether they have mastered the subject matter.

Have your students (after practicing) make a kind of “practice test” with which they can check whether they have mastered the learning materials. Research clearly shows that taking a practice test – retrieval practice - leads to better learning and retention (than, for example, rereading the material), but also gives the student insight into whether she or he has really understood the material. The latter is important, because as a teacher you are not present with the student to check for their understanding.

9. Provide students with adequate feedback on what they have done.

It’s important that students receive feedback on their answers. This can be corrective (wrong: the answer is), but better is directive (wrong: you should have solved it that way) or epistemic (How did you get this? Was the answer different if you had taken into account …?

10. Spread exercise over time .

If you are presenting new subject matter, don’t do it in one long session but use shorter sessions and return to it at one or more later moments. This is called the spacing effect. Research shows that it is much more effective to spread the practice over time.

In a nutshell:

Keep it short. “Try not to do all of what you normally do in your online class.”

Prepare well. “Know what you’re going to say, don’t change it during class.”

Provide structure. “List what students should do and see if they have done it.”

Prepare students. “If you are going to talk about something, prepare them beforehand with stimulating their prior knowledge.”

Give short assignments before and after and require them to be submitted to you. “Not complicated or profound, but things they can do in a few minutes and you can see whether they are prepared (before) and understand (after).”

Make use of the online resources available. “Don’t try to do something better in an evening that that which has already been done well by someone else.”

I hope this helps. If you want to know more about what constitutes good teaching for effective, efficient, and enjoyable learning you might want to read a book I recently wrote with Carl Hendrick: How Learning Happens: Seminal Works in Educational Psychology and What They Mean in Practice available from Routledge but also via Amazon (US and UK).

Because of the Corona pandemic, we’re all going through a period that none of us have ever experienced. With respect to teaching and learning, kids can’t attend school and we must help them learn at home. And this might last weeks or months. Fortunately, online education offers a solution, but the instructional techniques involved are not (completely) the same as what we do in the classroom during face-to-face education.

Read